Russia accuses UK of ‘deliberate provocation’
Britain’s Royal Air Force is aiming to carry out a provocative action in Russian airspace, the Defense Ministry in Moscow has warned. The statement came after the UK requested permission for a reconnaissance plane to fly over Russia.
On Tuesday, Russian military officials revealed that a “request has been lodged by the UK for the passing of a British reconnaissance plane RC-135 along a route which goes over the territory of the Russian Federation, among other countries.”
The ministry emphasized that it deemed “this action to be a deliberate provocation.”
The statement went on to say that the Russian Air Force had been tasked with preventing any “violation of the Russian Federation’s airspace.”
Moscow also pointed out that “all possible consequences” of the planned reconnaissance flight would “rest solely with the UK.”
The Russian Defense Ministry’s warning comes hard on the heels of another incident involving a British reconnaissance aircraft.
On Monday, military officials in Moscow claimed that an RC-135 surveillance jet – the same model as the one mentioned in Britain’s latest passage request – had entered Russian airspace in the Barents Sea near the city of Murmansk and major bases of the country’s Navy’s Northern Fleet. A Russian MiG-31BM interceptor forced the intruder to leave Russian airspace.
This was the first known incursion of NATO aircraft into Russian territory since Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine in late February.
Earlier that month, Moscow claimed that a US submarine had entered Russian waters and was subsequently chased off near the Kuril Islands in the northern Pacific – which the Pentagon denied at the time.
According to Moscow’s estimates, in 2021 alone, the number of reconnaissance flights by NATO aircraft rose by over 30%.