Russian defense minister Sergei Shoygu announced that Russia will increase the number of bomber jets flying near the airspace of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Furthermore, Russia’s military jets will widen the scope of its air patrolling activities, Shoygu said without elaborating specific plans on how to carry it out.
Strategic Bomber jets “of regular nature”
According to Newsweek, Shoygu has convened Russia’s leading military officials through a video conference. In his address, Shoygu briefed them with the new batch of jet fighters flying over the Norwegian Sea, the Atlantic northeast region, and the Barents Sea in February. He highlighted that fighter jets patrolling the air space are “of a regular nature.”
“Russia’s strategic bomber jets are always stationed on the frontlines of our homeland, completing patrol flyovers in many regions of the world. We do not intend to give up on this practice,” Shoygu was quoted by Newsweek.
The Baltic States, including Latvia, Estonia and Sweden, have voiced out concerns about Russia’s growing military presence. Former defense official Martin Hurt expressed fear that Russia might launch a covert attack on one or several Baltic capitals under the guise of military drills.
New Sanctions from The West
On March 4, U.S. president Barack Obama and leaders of Britain, France, Germany and Italy, together with the head of the European Council, warned Russia about their readiness to impose new sanctions should the latter continue to violate the ceasefire in Ukraine. The announcement was during a video conference headed by Obama.
“It was an opportunity for the president to condemn the continuing failure of Russia and the separatists it backs to abide by the commitments to which they agreed,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest was quoted by Reuters.
Obama and the European leaders are in unison, saying that further violation of the ceasefire agreement would exhibit “strong reaction from the international community,” according to a statement release by the office of French President Francois Hollande. A separate statement from the EU and spokesman for German Chancellor said, “leaders will be ready to decide on further sanctions if the Minks agreements are further violated.”