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Russians React to B-52 Flights over Ukraine

Sept. 7, 2020 (EIRNS)—Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on national TV yesterday that not only is the U.S. military sending more reconnaissance aircraft near Russia’s borders, but it is also practicing for potential strikes on Russian territory. He noted a sharp uptick in foreign surveillance and training flights testing the country’s borders and air defenses, reported RT. Last month, such activities increased by some 30% compared to August 2019.

Moreover, the NATO bloc’s aircraft have been actively training to conduct air strikes, routinely performing mock missile launches on targets within the country, Shoigu revealed. The most alarming thing is that if earlier—even though not that frequently—there were mainly reconnaissance aircraft, they’ve now begun regular training flights with large numbers of planes, during which mock missile strikes are conducted.

More broadly there seems considerable discussion within Russian military circles about what last week’s operation, involving B-52s flying over Ukraine in concert with intelligence-gathering aircraft flying over the Black Sea, actually indicated. BulgarianMilitary.com ran the translation from the Russian online newspaper Vzglyad with the headline “Ukraine Will Become a Springboard for a U.S. Nuclear Strike on Russia.” It reports, “Experts are confident that the bombers in the Ukrainian sky not only studied the potential theater of military operations, but also practiced the tactics of an air attack.”

Retired Lt. Gen. Alexander Luzan, a former Deputy Commander of the Air Defense Forces of the Ground Forces, and Doctor of Technical Sciences, recalled that the Pentagon, during the NATO campaign in Yugoslavia in 1999, worked out a new tactic of air attack, which was named “reconnaissance and strike combat groups.” “They just assume paired approaches to the objects of reconnaissance aircraft and bombers,” Luzan explained.

“The main purpose of the American B-52H Stratofortress bombers is to deliver nuclear strikes with cruise missiles. We regard the incident as a study by Washington of a potential theater of military operations,” Russian military expert Igor Korotchenko said. “In addition, we regard this flight as a hostile act by both the United States and Ukraine, which has opened its airspace for American bombers.” It is worth recalling that Ukraine, itself, does not have the Air Force as an organized force. Kiev is a vassal of Washington, and the Americans use the Ukrainian airspace to solve their own military tasks.

Korotchenko argues that the air defenses in southern Crimea must be strengthened. Luzan, while agreeing, does not believe that the B-52s that flew over Ukraine on Sept. 4 were practicing nuclear strikes, because there are no targets suitable for nuclear weapons in Crimea or southern Russia. The Kerch bridge, he believes, can be targeted with conventional precision guided weapons. The incident with the bombers, in Luzan’s opinion, should become that “call” that will lead to the creation of systems for active protection of Crimean facilities, and, first of all, the bridge over the Kerch Strait.

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