To understand that it’s putin who is behaving like aggressor in Europe and threatening western world for helping Ukraine to defend it’s self against putin regime invasion – read these facts about these latest close military encounters between Russia and the West.
High Risk Incidents
High Risk incidents, in our view, are defined as those with a high probability of causing casualties or a direct military confrontation between Russia and Western states.
We have identified three such cases in the relevant time period:
On 3 March 2014
a close encounter occurred between a SAS passenger plane taking off from Copenhagen and a Russian reconnaissance aircraft which did not transmit its position. The incident happened 50 miles south east of Malmo. A collision was apparently avoided thanks only to good visibility and the alertness of the passenger plane pilots. The SAS 737 plane was carrying 132 passengers to Rome. Had these two planes collided with a major loss of civilian life comparable to the tragedy of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, the result would almost
certainly have been a new round of western sanctions on Russia and increased NATO patrolling in the Baltic Sea but also, and perhaps more importantly, the classification of further un-logged or blind air activity over Europe as a possible threat to life requiring forceful pre-emptive interdiction.
On 5 September 2014
an Estonian security service operative, Eston Kohver, was abducted by Russian agents from an Estonian border post, on Estonian, and therefore NATO, territory. He was later taken to Moscow and accused of espionage. The incident itself involved communications jamming and the use of smoke grenades, and took place immediately after President Obama’s visit to the region and his repetition of security assurances to the Baltic States. Had the incident resulted in loss of life there could have been dangerous and uncontrolled escalation.
Between 17-27 October
2014 a major submarine hunt by Swedish authorities was prompted by credible intelligence reports of “underwater activity” in the Stockholm archipelago in Swedish territorial waters. Supreme Commander General Sverker Göranson underlined that Sweden was ready to use “armed force” to bring the vessel to the surface if necessary. Russia issued denials and attempted to ridicule Swedish concerns. The major search operation stopped on Oct. 24.
The Swedish military stated that “foreign underwater activity” had probably taken
place, with at least one unidentified vessel involved. This incident represented the biggest anti-submarine operation in Sweden since the Cold War and increased Swedish concerns that more aggressive Russian surveillance and probing operations are under way in breach of international law. Had the submarine been found and force used by Swedish authorities, this may have resulted in casualties and a further Russian military response.
Serious Incidents with Escalation Risk
What we characterise in this report as serious incidents go beyond the previously established pattern of interaction and the near routine cases outlined below and involve close encounters of a more aggressive or unusually provocative nature. As such this category of incident brings a higher level of risk of escalation. We have identified 11 such serious incidents. They include 4 separate cases of the harassment of U.S. and Swedish reconnaissance planes in international airspace by armed Russian fighters; 2 cases of Russian aircraft conducting close overflights over U.S. and Canadian ships in the Black Sea; Russian aircraft violating Swedish airspace on a mock ‘bombing raid’ mission; a mock attack on the Danish island of
Bornholm; the practicing of cruise missile attacks against the US mainland; boarding and detention of a Lithuanian fishing vessel accused of illegal fishing in the Barents Sea; and a massive outburst of Russian aviation activity along NATO borders in late October. Each of these incidents could have evolved into a more serious situation, both in terms of possible casualties or broader political and diplomatic consequences. More detail on each incident is presented below:
On 12 April 2014
an unarmed Russian fighter aircraft made 12 passes of the American warship the USS Cook in the Black Sea. Such aggressive behaviour, if repeated by an armed aircraft, could have resulted in the ship commander targeting the aircraft in an act of self-defence.
On April 23 2014
an armed Russian fighter undertook very threatening manoeuvres in the vicinity of an American reconnaissance aircraft in the Sea of Okhotsk. These manoeuvres involved demonstrating that the fighter was armed. Such behaviour is far removed from what would be expected in a relatively routine encounter.
In June 2014
armed Russian aircraft approached the heavily populated Danish island of Bornholm before breaking off in what appears to have been a simulated attack. The Danish intelligence service described the incident as “of a more offensive character than observed in recent years.”
On 16 July 2014
an armed Russian aircraft intercepted a Swedish surveillance plane conducting operations between Gotland and Latvia in international airspace, and flew within 10 metres of the plane. This indicated a far more aggressive approach to intercepting aircraft than in previous encounters.
On 18 July 2014
an American surveillance plane conducting operations near Kaliningrad was chased into Swedish air-space after being approached by Russian fighters. This evasive action took place without Sweden’s prior approval that the US aircraft could enter Swedish airspace.
In early September, 2014
Russian strategic bombers in the Labrador Sea near Canada practiced cruise missile strikes on the United States. The Russian aircraft stayed outside of Canada’s ADIZ but this was still a provocative move in light of the NATO summit ongoing at the time. Cruise missiles launched from the Labrador Sea would have Ottawa, New York, Washington, Chicago, and the Norfolk Naval Base in range.
On 7 September 2014
HMCS Toronto (a frigate) was buzzed by a Russian aircraft in the Black Sea, with the plane coming within 300 metres of the warship. HMCS Toronto locked its radar on the Russian plane but took no further action as the aircraft was not armed. This incident coincided with larger Russian naval combat training activities near Sevastopol. Such aggressive behaviour, if repeated by an armed aircraft, could have resulted in the ship commander targeting the aircraft in an act of self-defence.
On 17 September 2014
two Russian military aircraft crossed into Swedish air-space south of the island of Oland.
The Russian Su-24 bombers intentionally violated Swedish airspace possibly to test the capabilities of the air defence system strengthened after previous incidents. The Swedish Foreign Minister described the incident as the ‘most serious aerial incursion’ in years.
On 19 September 2014
Russian officers detained a Lithuanian shipping vessel in international waters in the Barents Sea, subsequently towing it to Murmansk. This represented a clear escalation in Russian attempts at the provocation and intimidation of the Baltic States.
On 3 October 2014
a Russian fighter flew “within metres” of Swedish surveillance aircraft in the Baltic in an incident deemed “unusually provocative”. A collision between the aircraft would have had serious repercussions for bilateral relations and increased military tensions across the entire Baltic area.
From 28-30 October 2014
Russia conducted a major air exercise in the North Sea, Atlantic, Black Sea and Baltic Sea. In a series of developments, aircraft from NATO states and partners tracked Russian long-range bombers conducting missions across this entire area, including a large formation of Russian fighters and bombers conducting missions over the Baltic Sea. All missions were conducted in international airspace but their scale and use of different kinds of aircraft and
different zones of operation has added significantly to increased tensions between
NATO and Russia.
Serious Incidents with Escalation Risk
Near Collision between Russian military jet and Commercial Airliner
States Involved: Sweden; Russia
Geographical Region: Baltic
Incident Details: A Russian military aircraft, flying without using its transponders, flies within close proximity of a commercial carrier south of Malmo. Russia has denied that the incident was a danger.
Category: Serious. Such incidents represent a credible threat to life; Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist said “This is serious. This is inappropriate. This is outright dangerous when you turn off the transponder.”
Date: Early March 2015
States Involved: Russia; US; Turkey
Geographical Region: Black Sea
Incident Details: Russian fighter bombers are using NATO warships in the Black Sea to practice attack scenarios.
Category: Serious. Such actions risk provoking a more proactive defensive response from the captains of these ships should they feel endangered.
Routine incidents keep on reading at the source.