On Wednesday a Russian fighter jet fired a missile at and RAF aircraft which was patrolling in “international airspace over the Black Sea near to Ukraine.
The UK has now been warned that we are “in a strategic conflict with Russia now” as the two Russian armed SU-27 fighter aircraft” displayed “clear intimidatory intent” to the British RC-135, surveillance plane.
The British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has rejected Moscow’s claims that the firing of the missile at the RAF spy plane happened through a “technical malfunction.”
NATO has also been told that there is a definite “turning point here” and the UK need “to be tougher.”
The Daily Mail reported that Defence expert Francis Tusa said, “If I was in NATO HQ, I’d be concerned there might be a turning point here.
“RAF and US Rivet Joints fly ‘racetrack’ flight patterns over the Black Sea, the Baltic and eastern Poland gathering intelligence. The role of the aircraft is to hoover up electronic transmissions and communications.
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“Do they subsequently pass such intelligence to the Ukrainians?
“Well, the rate Russian army HQs in the field seem to get hit by Ukrainian artillery seems to point in this direction.
“If the Russian air force is going to get more aggressive as regards to NATO surveillance aircraft, close protection of these assets becomes a real issue.”
Retired Rear Admiral Chris Parry said, “Of course it wasn’t an accident. The incident displayed clear intimidatory intent.
“We are in a strategic conflict with Russia now. We need to be tougher and to face down these criminals.”
Wallace told MPs in Parliament, “I would also like to share with the House details of a recent incident which occurred in international airspace over the Black Sea.
“On September 29 an unarmed RAF RC-135 Rivet Joint, a civilian-style aircraft on routine patrol over the Black Sea was interacted with by two Russian armed SU-27 fighter aircraft. It is not unusual for aircraft to be shadowed and this day was no different.
“During that interaction, however, it transpired that one of the SU-27 aircraft released a missile in the vicinity of the RAF Rivet Joint beyond visual range.
“The total time of the interaction between the Russian aircraft and the Rivet Joint was approximately 90 minutes.
“The patrol completed and the aircraft returned to base.”
Wallace added, “We don’t consider this a deliberate escalation by the Russians. Our analysis would concur it was a malfunction.”
Wallace concluded to MPs in the House of Commons, “The UK Ministry of Defence has shared this information with allies and, after consultation, I have restarted routine patrols, but this time escorted by fighter aircraft.
“Everything we do is considered calibrated with regard to ongoing conflict in the region and in accordance with international law.