Russians deployed one of its fighter jets to intercept a US aircraft that was flying over the Baltic Sea because it had apparently crossed the international airspace and infiltrated into Russian airspace. The American aircraft was a B-52H bomber of the US Air Force which is designed to carry a nuclear weapon.

The incident took place while the BALTOPS exercise was in progress over the Baltic Sea. A couple of other US aircraft were also involved, and these too were driven away by the SU-27 fighter jet.

The annual BALTOPS exercise

Sky News reports that the incident happened during the annual BALTOPS exercise which is held by the US and its NATO allies and its origin dates back to 1972.

The purpose is to conduct a live training event that covers various aspects of defense preparedness. The venue is in the Baltic Sea, and the region is close to the border with Russia.

Commenting on the event, a spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry has said that such activities will not help to ease tensions between the West and Moscow. Describing the event, he has explained that the Russian fighter jet approached at a safe distance, identified the aircraft as an American B-52H bomber, and escorted it till it left the area.

Concerns of Russia

The Russian government has expressed concern over this and the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry, has revealed that strategic bombers are there in the UK to participate in the BALTOPS exercises.

He went on to add that NATO forces are gathering near the border of Russia to conduct military exercises. This will not help the cause to de-escalate tension in Europe. The matter is grave when they are supported by US bombers that can carry nuclear weapons.

The US military has clarified that the exercise was taking place in the international airspace, and a USAF B-52H bomber was operating in the area but remained silent on the alleged interception by the Russian jet over the Baltic Sea.

America conducts joint exercises in different parts of the world. It is a regular feature, and the aim of such exercises is to help build confidence among its allies. These are treated as platforms to impart knowledge and share experiences related to military equipment and tactics and keep the allies updated on strategies. When exercises of this nature take place, it is expected that the participants ensure that they do not cross international boundaries which could lead to avoidable embarrassments.

Every country wants to maintain a strict vigil over its boundaries since their military installations are usually located at or near the borders and aerial photography could capture the images which is not desirable. This is especially true when a super power like Russia is involved because its relation with the United States is always a matter of worry. Russia, like any other country, wants to keep its military secrets under wraps.