October 2016 – SYRIA – Aboard a US military aircraft (AFP) – A Russian fighter flew dangerously close to a U.S. warplane over eastern Syria, US defense officials said Friday, highlighting the risks of a serious mishap in the increasingly crowded airspace. The near miss occurred late on October 17, when a Russian jet that was escorting a larger spy plane maneuvered in the vicinity of an American warplane, Air Force Lieutenant General Jeff Harrigan said.The Russian jet came to “inside of half a mile,” he added. Another US military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the American pilot could feel the turbulence produced by the Russian jet’s engines. “It was close enough you could feel the jet wash of the plane passing by,” the official said. It appeared the Russian pilot had simply not seen the US jet, as it was dark and the planes were flying without lights.
“I would attribute it to not having the necessary situational awareness given all those platforms operating together,” Harrigan said. The incident raises serious questions about the extent to which pilots are able to track the complex airspace they operate in. The US-led coalition has set up a hotline with Russian counterparts so the different militaries can discuss the approximate locations and missions of planes, and avoid operating in the same space at the same time.
(Filed News Report : CNN – June 2016 – The Syrian Crisis – U.S. (D) Rep. Tulsi Gabbard)
In this case, the American pilot tried unsuccessfully to reach the Russian jet via an emergency radio channel. The next day, US officers used the hotline to ask Russia what had happened and they said “the pilot didn’t see” the American plane, the official said. Harrigan said there had been an increase in close calls over the past six weeks, with intentional near misses — when a Russian jet deliberately follows a coalition plane too closely – “happening one every 10 days-ish.” Russia is flying constant air patrols over Syria, the vast majority of them over the devastated city of Aleppo, and routinely transits parts of the country the US-coalition operates in, officials said. Russia says it has not bombed Aleppo since October 18. The Pentagon periodically chides Russia for “unsafe and unprofessional behavior” in air operations. This incident was deemed unsafe, but not necessarily unprofessional, officials said. –Yahoo
NATO says Russia a nuclear threat to Europe: Russia is willing to use its nuclear rhetoric to intimidate and threaten its European neighbors, the head of NATO has warned. Tensions between Russia and the West have reached some of their highest levels since the end of the Cold War, with the UK and NATO moving to bolster its presence in Eastern Europe. In recent weeks Vladimir Putin’s armed forces have made a series of bold statements and announcements – including showing off new advanced weaponry and carrying out large military exercises. Jens Stoltenberg told the Today program on Radio 4: “Russia is stronger than Russia was some years ago. “And Russia is a power which is willing to use military force against neighbors.
“We have seen substantial use of military force and add to that Russia is a nuclear power. A nuclear power which is using nuclear rhetoric to intimidate other European nations. “We take this seriously and that is why NATO is adapting and responding in a measured defensive way.” He continued: “We don’t seek confrontation with Russia, we don’t want a new Cold War. “We will continue to strive for a more cooperative and constructive relationship with Russia.
“But we have to do that based on collective defense deterrents.” A former British ambassador to Moscow warned on Thursday tensions between Russia and the West are at the “most dangerous” levels they have ever been. Sir Anthony Brenton said: “Having dealt with Russia for more than 20 years in the Foreign Office and served as British Ambassador to Russia between 2004 and 2008, we are in the most dangerous situation in our relations I have ever seen. “In Russia all the talk is of a second Cold War, with active preparations for fighting a hot war if necessary. “We have Syria, where Russia is supporting dictator President Bashar al-Assad and bombing besieged east Aleppo mercilessly. “There is no doubt Russia is very hyped up. They see a real threat of confrontation with the West.” Among the aggressive military moves ordered by Mr. Putin include equipping his warship fleet in the Baltic with long-range missiles and unveiling a new ICBM dubbed ‘Satan 2.’ –Express
Russian warns of retaliation: With US and Russia engaged what some call a new Cold War, some 900 US troops are about to find themselves on its most dangerous front. The US and NATO confirmed this week that the US will lead a multinational battalion in northeast Poland beginning in April 2017, a strategically crucial location that would put them in the center of hostilities should an armed clash between NATO and Russia break out. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter told reporters Wednesday that the American soldiers will be headquartered in Orzysz, Poland, a town which lies only miles from the most likely target of a possible Russian attack against NATO, according to military analysts.
Carter made the remarks while speaking after a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels. He called the unit a “battle-ready battalion task force.” Russia was quick to criticize the announcement. In a series of tweets, Russia’s ambassador to NATO, Alexander Grushko, called the deployments “confrontational schemes of military building up in areas along our borders” and threatened retaliation. “NATO countries understand that these actions will not remain without a response from our side,” he said. –CNN
Lithuania concerned about a Russian invasion: Conscription has been restarted and defense spending ramped up, not to mention their now-answered calls for NATO to deploy more troops to the Baltics. But even this is not enough to assuage anxiety — the Lithuanian government has Friday issued a 75-page guide on what to do if the country is invaded, entitled “Prepare to survive emergencies and war. Attention needs to be paid to the actions of the neighboring country — Russia,” says the manual.
“This country does not hesitate to use a military force against its neighbors, and at this moment it basically continues the military aggression against Ukraine.” It notes the Russian method of using “denial and ambiguity” at the beginning of an invasion and warns: “It is most important that the civilians are aware and have a will to resist — when these elements are strong, an aggressor has difficulties in creating an environment for military invasion.” –CNN