Russia to US: Stop flying B-52 bombers near our borders already

news
A Boeing B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber from the US Air Force Andersen Air Force Base in Guam performs a fly-over at the Singapore Airshow in Singapore February 14, 2012. (Reuters/Tim Chong)

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin on Thursday complained that flights by U.S. nuclear-capable B-52 strategic bombers across the Baltic Sea near Russia's borders were creating tensions in the region, but Washington said they were needed to deter potential adversaries.


Russia's Defense Ministry said earlier on Thursday that it had scrambled two Sukhoi SU-27 fighter jets to intercept a U.S. B-52 strategic bomber which radar systems indicated was flying toward Russia's borders, albeit at a considerable distance.

The ministry said the fighter jets had returned to base after the B-52 changed course and headed in the opposite direction. It did not say when the incident occurred.

"In general, I will limit myself to only saying that of course such actions by the United States do not lead to a strengthening of an atmosphere of security and stability in the region that directly adjoins Russia's borders," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

"On the contrary, they create additional tensions."

Relations between Russia and NATO have been acutely strained since Moscow's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea and its backing for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Russia accuses the Western military alliance of an unjustified military build-up near its borders, while NATO has condemned Moscow for building up its own forces in Crimea and the Black Sea region.

The U.S. embassy in Poland said that B-52 bombers had flown to Lithuania and Poland on Wednesday to conduct interoperability training with NATO forces.

It said the planes, which were temporarily based in Britain, had carried out simulated bombing runs.

"Operating out of forward locations enables collective defense capabilities ... needed to deter adversaries and assure our allies and partners," it said in a statement.

Russian media reported that a B-52 bomber was spotted close to the border with Russia's European exclave of Kaliningrad and the Leningrad region on Monday. At one point, the RBC news portal reported, the U.S. plane, which had flown from Britain, was less than 200 km (124 miles) from St Petersburg.

Another B-52 was spotted in the Baltic region on March 16, it added.

Such flights, seen as a show of force designed to test response times and deter, are also carried out by Russia. Moscow sends its own nuclear-capable strategic bombers on similar missions, which NATO jets intercept in the same way.

SEE ALSO: Norway Says It Has Proof Russia Messed With GPS Signals During Recent NATO Exercises

WATCH NEXT: The Tri-Bomber Static Goes To Europe

DoD photo

A word that could once not be mentioned in court — torture — was front and center on Friday as a military tribunal prepares to take on the long-delayed trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the confessed chief plotter of the 9/11 attacks, and four other defendants.

"I know torture's a dirty word," defense attorney Walter Ruiz told the tribunal. "I'll tell you what, judge, I'm not going to sanitize this for their concerns."

Read More

The suspect in the death of 21-year-old U.S. Marine Cpl. Tyler Wallingford, who was fatally shot in the barracks of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort more than nine months ago, was found guilty in military court of involuntary manslaughter earlier this month and sentenced to more than five years.

Read More
U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dylan McKay

A U.S. Navy aircrew has been rescued after their MH-60S helicopter went down into the Philippine Sea on Saturday.

Read More
Photo: Fort Jackson Public Affairs

A 19-year-old Army private who died during basic training earlier this month was posthumously promoted to private first class, just before friends and family gathered for a memorial service to honor his life on Jan. 16.

Read More

The Veterans of Foreign Wars has demanded an apology from President Trump over recent comments in which he downplayed the seriousness of traumatic brain injuries suffered by American troops in an Iranian missile attack.

"The Veterans of Foreign Wars cannot stand idle on this matter," William "Doc" Schmitz, VFW National Commander, said in a statement Friday, noting TBI is a serious injury known to cause depression, memory loss, severe headaches and other symptoms in the short and long-term.

Read More