BBC reports RAF jets scrambled after Russian bombers seen off Cornwall

The map below of just some of the “threatened” countries tells all. Just where is NATO parking its troops, headquarters, and equipment, and conducting exercises? Who is threatening who? Exactly how does President Putin pose a “real and present danger”?

“Ukraine is thus seen as a manifestation of a much broader policy shift on the part of the Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

“Mr Fallon’s belief that there is indeed a potential threat to Nato territory – in particular the Baltic Republics – is widely shared.”

That’s horrifying. Leaders must base their actions on facts, not beliefs, not ancestral prejudices, not what’s good for the ruling class. Unfortunately for the peace of the world, British, American, and European “beliefs” are driving all of us to war against Russia. And not just for the stated reasons of “threats”. Until Western leaders start living in a fact-based world, with a desire to serve the people of their countries, with a belief system reflective of reality and a value system that includes living together in harmony, we face mutual annihilation.

The BBC’s reporting and analysis are deplorable.

From the BBC, February 19, 2015

Mr Cameron says the incident should not be dignified with a response

RAF jets were scrambled on Wednesday after two Russian military aircraft were seen off the Cornwall coast, the Ministry of Defence has said.

The Russian Bear bombers did not enter sovereign airspace, it said.

On the same day, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon warned that Russia’s President Putin posed a “real and present danger” to three Baltic states.

Map, BBC

Prime Minister David Cameron said the Russian action should not be dignified with “too much of a response”.

He added: “I think what this episode demonstrates is that we do have the fast jets, the pilots, the systems in place to protect the UK.

“I suspect the Russians were trying to make some sort of a point.”

BBC political correspondent Ross Hawkins said the appearance of Russian aircraft near the UK coast was a show of strength from the Russians, and such incidents were carried out with political intent because they would be reported on.

Our correspondent said it was part of a trend which had seen Russian aircraft flying close to UK airspace and there had also been concern about similar incidents in Europe.

Russian bomber, BBC

The two Russian Bear bombers were “escorted” by RAF jets, the MoD says (file photo)

It comes amid increased concerns over Russian involvement in the conflict in Ukraine and suggestions of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s potential future interference in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

A ceasefire deal between government and pro-Russian rebel separatists in Ukraine was reached a week ago.

But battles around the strategic town of Debaltseve have seen the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops, while there was shelling in several places in eastern Ukraine, including the region’s biggest city, Donetsk, on Thursday.

‘New’ Cold War

Russia has denied helping the separatists, but it has been accused repeatedly of sending weapons and troops and using propaganda to inflame tensions.

And Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin has labelled Ukraine’s call for the deployment of UN peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine as a destructive move.

Mr Cameron has said rebels in eastern Ukraine are using Russian military hardware, and that Mr Putin must understand there would be “economic and financial consequences for many years to come” if he did not change his behaviour.

Speaking to journalists from the Times and Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, Mr Fallon said the increase in Russian defence spending was “clearly worrying” and that he was also “worried about Putin”.

“They are modernising their conventional forces, they are modernising their nuclear forces and they are testing Nato, so we need to respond.”

Mr Fallon also said the prospect of a new Cold War was “warming up”.

“You have tanks and armour rolling across the Ukrainian border and you have an Estonian border guard who has been captured and not yet still returned.”

Vladimir Chizhov, the Russian Ambassador to the EU: ”I entirely reject accusations that Russia is responsible for the destabilisation of Ukraine”

Previous incidents

He also said Russia was likely to use covert tactics such as those he said it had used to annex Crimea and during the current Ukraine conflict.

Mr Putin had also flown two other bombers “down the English Channel two weeks ago”, Mr Fallon added.

“We had to scramble jets very quickly to see them off.

“It’s the first time since the height of the Cold War, it’s the first time that’s happened.”

A French Air Force Mirage filmed from a Russian bomber during a recent encroachment on western European airspace. Pictures from Russian TV Zvedza


Jonathan Marcus, BBC defence and diplomatic correspondent

The comments from Defence Secretary Michael Fallon are an indication of a fundamental shift in the Nato perception of the crisis in Ukraine.

Nato governments clearly believe that what began as a localised Ukraine problem that strained ties with Moscow has now become a Russia problem, and a Russia problem that is likely to persist for some time.

Ukraine is thus seen as a manifestation of a much broader policy shift on the part of the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Fallon’s belief that there is indeed a potential threat to Nato territory – in particular the Baltic Republics – is widely shared; hence Nato’s desire to underline in the most emphatic terms that its security guarantees to its members will be honoured in full.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Mr Fallon’s comments went “beyond diplomatic ethics” and used “unacceptable terminology”.

He also said Russia would “find a way to respond”.

According to the Department for Transport, there was no record of disruption to civil aviation as a result of the bombers’ presence on Wednesday.

The MoD said: “RAF Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighter aircraft were launched [on Wednesday] after Russian aircraft were identified flying close to UK airspace.

“The Russian planes were escorted by the RAF until they were out of the UK area of interest. At no time did the Russian military aircraft cross into UK sovereign airspace.”

A similar incident occurred in January, when the UK Foreign Office said two Russian Tu-95 Bear H bombers flying near UK airspace had caused “disruption to civil aviation” and were also escorted by RAF jets while near UK airspace.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the latest incident “shows that we are of course living in a time of heightened tension with Russia… and we should remain vigilant at all times”.

Britain to spearhead NATO “Very High Readiness Force” aimed at Russia

“…the alliance’s political leaders and military planners now see Russia’s seizure of the Crimea and military forays into eastern Ukraine as much more than just a temporary crisis between Moscow and the West.”

Posted on
BBC News
February 5, 2015

UK to lead ‘high readiness’ Nato force, Michael Fallon says

The UK will play a lead role in a “high readiness” Nato force that will be established in Eastern Europe, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has announced.

Britain will send up to 1,000 troops and four RAF Typhoon jets for “air policing” in the region, he said.

The multinational force is the biggest reinforcement of Nato’s collective defence since the end of the Cold War.

BBC correspondent Jonathan Marcus said the move aimed to deter a perceived Russian threat to the Baltic states.

It comes as French and German leaders headed to the Ukrainian capital Kiev to try to negotiate an end to escalating fighting in the east of the country.

Mr Fallon said Nato’s credibility in the face of the security challenges depended on “everyone playing their part” to implement decisions taken to bolster its forces at a summit of member states in Wales last year.

“Strong words must be backed up with firm action,” he said.

Nato defence ministers have gathered in Brussels to discuss the details of the “Very High Readiness Joint Task Force” (VJTF), which will form Nato’s first response in the face of aggression.

It is expected to be made up of about 5,000 troops from Nato countries, with its lead units able to deploy at two days’ notice.

The UK will be the force’s lead nation in 2017 and then on rotation thereafter, Mr Fallon said.

He said the UK would contribute manpower to two regional headquarters in Poland and Romania, and to force integration units in Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.

The UK will also send four RAF Typhoon jets to support the Nato’s Baltic air policing mission in 2015, he confirmed.

The Typhoons will operate alongside Norwegian aircraft between May and August 2015, with the aim of securing Nato’s airspace over Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, which do not have their own air defence fighters.

They will operate at Nato’s request from Amari Airbase in Estonia, he said.

BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus said the move was aimed to reassure Nato countries in eastern Europe and deter what is perceived as a potential Russian threat to the Baltic republics or other Nato members.

He said it was also a signal that the alliance’s political leaders and military planners now see Russia’s seizure of the Crimea and military forays into eastern Ukraine as much more than just a temporary crisis between Moscow and the West.

Fighting in eastern Ukraine began last April, when separatists seized government buildings after Russia annexed Ukraine’s southern Crimea peninsula.

More than 5,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

Nato secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg has said that Russia continues to violate international law as fighting continues in Ukraine.