Speaking to Sputnik about the incident, Vladimir Kozin, a professor at the Russian Academy of Military Sciences, said it was worth noting, for context' sake, that the US has been actively engaged in aerial espionage missions all along Russia's borders recently. "According to authoritative military sources, US intelligence-gathering activities on our borders have increased ten-fold in recent years," he observed.
Regarding the Pentagon's claims about "unsafe" Russian "behavior," Kozin suggested that all of this was just "noise."
"There were no dangerous interceptions, and will not be any. Our pilots are responsible people, and understand that any dangerous interception can end badly for both sides. Therefore, instead of raising all this noise, the US military should just stop its provocative flights near our territory," the expert said.
As for what the Pentagon might to do to avoid similar incidents in the future, it's simple, the academic insisted: if the US stops its reconnaissance flights near Russia's borders, the Russian Aerospace Forces will stop their intercepts. "Earlier, when the US didn't engage in these shenanigans, there were no interceptions," he noted.
The Russian Defense Ministry has noted a major uptick in US and NATO flights near Russian territory in recent months. In mid-November, the Ministry reported that jets were scrambled three times in one week to chase away foreign recon planes. In the seven day period, twelve spy planes were caught approaching Russian airspace, including six on the western borders, three in the Russian Arctic, one on the southwestern flank and two from the east. A week before that, 17 foreign aircraft were reported to be patrolling the border, with Russian planes scrambled twice to intercept.