The Russian air traffic in European airspace is to demonstrate that Russia is a superpower, NATO military commander General Philip Breedlove says.
There has been growing Russian aircraft activity over Europe during the last year, but last week was the first time in a long time Russia has sent large aircraft formations in the air, Breedlove says.
Norwegian F-16 aircraft were several times in the air last week to keep track of several Russian fighter jets, and aircraft from several other NATO countries were also looking to follow the Russian activity.
- My opinion is that they send a message. They say that they are a superpower, Breedlove says. Russian cruises along European airspace has been fairly common, but previously mostly been carried out by one or two planes.
- What we saw last week was bigger, more complex aircraft formations, which was longer, I would say more provocative, flights, the NATO general says. He is concerned by the development, saying the activity is "not conducive to a safe and stable situation."
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