Ukraine crisis deepens as Russia beefs up patrols of nuclear-capable bombers

November 13, 2014 | By | Reply More

Nov 13, – Boiling tensions with the West over the Ukrainian crisis prompted Russia to flex its military might Wednesday by expanding patrols of its nuclear-capable bombers all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

hromedia Russia beefs up patrols of nuclear-capable bombers eu news2Russia’s decision to beef up regular patrol missions by its long-range bombers from the Arctic Ocean to the Caribbean came as the top NATO commander accused Moscow of flooding eastern Ukraine with troops and weapons.

“In the current situation, we have to maintain military presence in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico,” Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a statement.

Shoigu also revealed Russia was increasing forces in the Crimea and the Black Sea Peninsula, which Russia annexed in March despite outrage from the White House.

The moves comes after Russian combat troops, tanks and artillery were reportedly seen this week entering eastern Ukraine.

“Forces, money, support, supplies, weapons are flowing back and forth across this border completely at will,” said NATO’s top commander Gen. Philip Breedlove Wednesday in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia.

Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for Russia’s Defense Ministry, scoffed at Breedlove’s claims. “We’ve already stopped taking note on the unfounded statements by NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe . . . on Russian military columns he supposedly saw intrude the Ukrainian territory,” Konashenkov said.

Russian strategic bombers, capable of carrying nuclear warheads, had been making regular patrols across the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans during the Cold War era. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, patrols were scrapped due to budget constraints.

In recent weeks, NATO has reported a spike in Russian military flights over the Black, Baltic and North Seas as well as the Atlantic Ocean.

Ian Kearns, director of the European Leadership Network, a think tank in London, said the Russian bomber patrols were more about making the Russian military “more visible and more assertive in its actions.”

The new bomber flights “aren’t necessarily presaging a threat,” Kearns told The Associated Press. “They are just part of a general ramping-up of activities.”

But he said “the more instances you have of NATO and Russian forces coming close together, the more chance there is of having something bad happening, even if it’s not intentional.”

The European Leadership Network issued a report Monday that found a nearly 40% increase in Russian-NATO military encounters since the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea.

The incidents included violations of national airspace, narrowly avoided midair collisions, close encounters at sea, harassment of reconnaissance planes, close overflights over warships and Russian mock bombing raid missions.

Press journalist for HRO media – Khizer Hayat reports.

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Category: European Crises

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