Russian Defense Ministry Reports NATO Reconnaissance Flights Near Its Borders
Dec. 13, 2021 (EIRNS)—The Russian Defense Ministry reported this morning, through the Ministry’s newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star), that Russian air defense forces tracked, by radar and other means, more than 40 NATO reconnaissance aircraft on its peripheries last week, including 34 manned aircraft and 8 drones. On three occasions, Russian fighter jets were scrambled to warn NATO aircraft away from Russian airspace.
Most notable among the flights visible on flight tracking websites was one by an RC-135W signals intelligence aircraft on Dec. 11 which, instead of flying over the Black Sea, flew in Ukrainian airspace along the line of contact in the Donbas region and along an east-west track north of Crimea. While Global Hawk drones have been tracked flying over Ukraine, this is the first known flight of a U.S. manned intelligence snooping aircraft in Ukrainian airspace. Also of note is that the CL-600 Artemis aircraft, the same aircraft involved in the Dec. 3 incident involving an Aeroflot commercial airliner over the Black Sea, flew a mission over the Baltics on Dec. 10. It passed over the Suwalki gap from Poland into Lithuania, flew a track near the Russian exclave Kaliningrad and another one along the border with Belarus.