During the Cold War NATO had to maintain High Alert interceptor capabilities on short notice to stop Soviet Long Range Nuclear bombers from turning most of Western Europe into a radioactive waste land.
This sort of activity has not been seen in years. Increasingly, Russia is placing the UK and her Allies on pins and needles. Those Western powers which have signed a non-aggression pact with the new Russia have not had the same instances of air space violation as those who choose to forgo the signing of the 2004 Russian non aggression pact. It might be instructive to remind President Bush and the new UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown that the new Russian federation is far stronger then ever was the former Soviet Union!
Norwegian military spokesman Lt. Col. John Inge Oeglaend said his country's F-16s were sent into action multiple times over the last few weeks. Most recently when two Russian Tu-95 heavy bombers headed south towards the Norwegian coast deep into international air space. They turned around just above Aberdeen on Scotland's North Sea coast only two minutes from invading UK airspace.
In another bold face attempt to test UK air space defenses, two Tu-160 long range nuclear equipped bombers were spotted flying straight at Norwegian air space over the Barents Sea.
Oeglaend characterized the incidents as troubling. trying to down play the seriousness of these repeated military incursions the Norwegian head of Air Defense said that these incidents were highly unusual. Especially, when you consider that the first two bombers went so deep into our southern population centers." Aberdeen's latitude is about 50 miles below the southern tip of Norway where close to two million Norwegians live and work in Norway’s major cities.
Russian Air Force spokesman Col. Alexander Drobyshevsky said British and Norwegian planes approaching bombers on training flights were a "normal occurrence. That the Western powers should get used to a world where Russia is taking a more open approach to it’s position as ‘THE’ world’s leader. "
A spokesman for Britain's Royal Air Force said he had no immediate response on the air space incursions. British media has repeatedly reported that RAF planes have been scrambled to stop incoming Russian bombers, this as recently as Tuesday.
What is sobering is there only has to be one slip by the British RAF or Norwegian Air Defense. The advancement of Russian military power in the last 5 years means with only two Russian Tu-95 heavy bombers they have enough Nuclear warheads to wipe out every major cities in both countries. One must keep in mind that the Russians have over 250 Russian Tu-95 heavy bombers. This is not counting their medium range bomber, their mobile Ballistic missiles, their nuclear equipped submarine fleet, their surface Naval fleet which is reported to possesses more nuclear warheads then the Russian army has in it’s entire arsenal, and what you have is a recipe for disaster. Should Vladimir Putin at any time wish to end Western interference in Russian affairs he could do so with very little effort or losses.
Ratcheting up tensions between the West and Russia Britain on Monday ordered four diplomats to leave as punishment for Russia's refusal to extradite the man named by Britain as the chief suspect in last year's killing in London of ex-Russian security officer-turned-Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko.