Russia continues to test the West’s patience as more Russian jets are intercepted over NATO airspace. Incidents on November 6 and 8 put the total of 2014 interceptions over 100, which is three times more than 2013.
On Thursday, NATO fighter jets diverted a Russian IL-20 surveillance plane over the Baltic Sea near Latvia. Latvia’s army confirmed the incident on their Twitter account. Two Canadian RCAF CF-18 Hornets intercepted another IL-20 near Lithuania on Saturday.
NATO said these Russian planes do not use on-board transponders used for surveillance. The organization said the plans “pose a potential risk to civil aviation as civilian air traffic control cannot detect these aircraft or ensure there is no interference with civilian air traffic.”
NATO was busy the last three days of October when they “tracked Russian military planes that included fighter jets, long-range bombers and tankers over the Baltic region, the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.” Jets deterred over nineteen Russian planes just on October 29. The majority of planes were located in the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Radar did show eight planes toward the Norwegian Sea, but six planes turned around after the Norwegian Air Force pushed back. Two planes, Tu-95 Bear H bombers, continued towards Norway until NATO planes in the United Kingdom tracked them and forced them back to Russia.
Portugal, a member of the European Union and a founding member of NATO, chased a Russian ship out of their waters on November 6. Russia claims the ship conducted “marine research,” but Portugal intervened when the ship floated almost fourteen miles from the coast.
NATO has warned Moscow numerous times to leave NATO countries alone and respect international law. The tensions between Russia and NATO started in March after Russia made a move for Ukraine’s Crimea. It was not until June when NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen finally admitted Russia considers NATO an enemy. On June 9, Russia said Moscow is prepared to act if NATO increases presence near its borders. In 1997, NATO agreed not to build permanent bases in Eastern Europe if Russia did not violate another country’s sovereignty. Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski claimed Russia violated this agreement due to aggression towards Ukraine, which includes the Crimea annexation.
Former Georgian Prime Minister and representative to NATO Ambassador Grigol Mgaloblishvili told Breitbart News “that Russia intends to cripple much of Eastern Europe to maintain it in a state of constant chaos.”
“The main objective of Russia is to regain its sphere of influence over the post-Soviet states,” he said. “After violating international law, after invading and occupying territories of European nations and violating the basics principles and consensuses of the post-Cold War order, Moscow has not paid any political price.”
NATO, the European Union, and the United States constantly warn and condemn Russia, but have not done anything except implement sanctions against Russian officials and those close to President Vladimir Putin.