The US Navy and a compliant press corps in the US and in Europe are making a great to-do about Russian aircraft buzzing a US warship playing war-games, in the Baltic. A long way from home and in the Russians’ backyard.
What did they expect?
If a Russian warship was carrying out exercises just off the US coast, the US military would be castigated if it did not challenge such games.
NATO – after Turkey and Ukraine and Libya – is proving to be irresponsible. In Syria they could not do in 5 years what the Russians seem to have done in 6 months.
The Swedish military and the defence industry are pushing for Sweden to join NATO. I suspect that could be just the provocation needed for the Russians to do to the Baltic what the Chinese are doing in the South China Sea. Take over a few islands, build some airstrips and military bases and redefine the extent of domestic waters. It may not be Gotland in the first instance but Sweden joining NATO will increase the risk in the Baltic – not reduce it.
NATO expansionism creates a greater risk of WW3 than Russian aggression in Russian dominated areas of the old Soviet Union.
A United States Navy destroyer operating in international waters in the Baltic Sea experienced several close interactions by Russian aircraft April 11 and 12.
USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) encountered multiple, aggressive flight maneuvers by Russian aircraft that were performed within close proximity of the ship.
On April 11, Donald Cook was conducting deck landing drills with an allied military helicopter when two Russian SU-24 jets made numerous close-range and low altitude passes at approximately 3 p.m. local. One of the passes, which occurred while the allied helicopter was refueling on the deck of Donald Cook, was deemed unsafe by the ship’s commanding officer. As a safety precaution, flight operations were suspended until the SU-24s departed the area.
On April 12, while Donald Cook was operating in international waters in the Baltic Sea, a Russian KA-27 Helix helicopter conducted circles at low altitude around the ship, seven in total, at approximately 5 p.m. local. The helicopter passes were also deemed unsafe and unprofessional by the ship’s commanding officer. About 40 minutes following the interaction with the Russian helicopter, two Russian SU-24 jets made numerous close-range and low altitude passes, 11 in total. The Russian aircraft flew in a simulated attack profile and failed to respond to repeated safety advisories in both English and Russian. USS Donald Cook’s commanding officer deemed several of these maneuvers as unsafe and unprofessional.
After Syria, there is some irony in the US military accusing the Russians of unprofessionalism. Or maybe I’m thinking of competence rather than professionalism.