13:53 GMT +319 October 2019
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    US Command Explains B-52 Bombers Flying Close to Russian Borders

    © AFP 2019 / Paul CROCK
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    NATO planes have been regularly conducting flights close to Russia’s borders since 2014 sometimes forcing Russian jets to scramble and escort them during the flight to prevent airspace violations.

    The US Air Force command in Europe has confirmed that its B-52 Stratofortress bombers have been conducting flights in the Baltics in close proximity to Russia's borders in the Kaliningrad and Leningrad regions, the Defence Blog reported. The command noted that the flights serve as a demonstration of Washington's commitment to regional security.

    "These missions have been closely coordinated with the governments of the respective countries and the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence units operating there", the statement by the command said.

    The confirmation comes amid reports of American B-52 bombers being spotted flying 150 kilometres away from the Russian border. The Russian Defence Ministry earlier confirmed that the US planes had not violated Russian airspace and that the country's armed forces kept track of them during the flight.

    US and NATO planes have been actively patrolling along Russia's borders since 2014, sometimes forcing Russian jets to scramble to prevent airspace violations. In the most recent incident, a Russian Su-27 fighter was scrambled to intercept a US RC-135 reconnaissance plane that was approaching Russian airspace over the Baltic Sea. After the RC-135 changed its course, the Su-27 safely returned to its air base.

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    Tags:
    Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, Baltics, United States, Russia
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