Lord Stirrup expressed concerns about Russian president Vladimir Putin’s bomber jets colliding with passenger planes if sorties over the Western air space continue. There has been accusation from the Ex-Chief of the Defence Staff for war rehearsals involving the flight of a Tu-95 Bear off Cornwall challenged by the RAF.
Switching off transponders during flight makes bomber jets invisible to air traffic control and commercial jet radars.
Lord Stirrup said, “We are seeing the possibility of midair collision not between RAF and Russian aircraft, but between Russian aircraft and civilian aircraft increasing.
“They are engaging … in a game of chicken and that’s very dangerous. These aircraft are not going on these long flights simply as joyrides. They are mission rehearsals,” he continued.
“Putin is running a gangster regime in Russia and he is running a gangsterish foreign policy.”
Lord Stirrup gave the statements as a war of words erupted between Tory minister William Hague and former Defence Secretary Liam Fox over whether it is strategically correct to arm the Ukrainian troops in their armed struggle against the Kremlin-backed rebels.
“We should be giving them weapons to defend themselves against an external threat. This is about their territorial integrity,” Fox said.