Russia announced that it will resume long-range bomber patrols over the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean sea. These flights were suspended at the end of the Cold War.
Russia’s Defense minister says they are being resumed in light of tensions over Ukraine, and what he called the “anti-Russia mood on the part of NATO.” CCTV America’s Nathan King reported this story from Washington, D.C.
These flights are legal under international law, they are in Russian or international airspace and are not unlike many of the U.S. flights conducted across the world on a daily basis. What’s different is they’re being stepped up.
According to Russia, these long-range flights are a response to NATO’s actions on its European borders. NATO is accusing Russian troops and tanks of illegally entering Ukraine. All this has the former and last leader of Soviet Russia warning of a new Cold War.
“The world is on the brink of a new Cold War, some are even saying that it has already begun,” former Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev said.
The proposed Russian flights in the north over the Arctic Ocean would cover its European and Asia borders, while flights in the Gulf of Mexico would bring it close to the United States. Russia is increasing its ship presence far from its shores — a fleet of Russian warships is near Australian waters.
The timing has raised eyebrows as the G-20 summit is about to be held in Australia and Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott has confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin about the rebel downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine which killed nearly 300 people, 38 of them Australians. Now the Australians are playing down the Russian presence.
“Certainly it is unusual for Russian naval elements to be in Australian waters,” Abbott said. “Unusual, not entirely unprecedented, but unusual.”
While Russia may be weaker than it was in Soviet days, it is still one of the foremost military powers in the world. According to a report called Dangerous Brinksmanship by a European think tank, standoffs between the West and Russia are increasing. The report said there have been nearly 40 so-called sensitive close encounter incidents since Russia reabsorbed Crimea.
The U.S. has also reported Russian flights near Guam in the Pacific and within 50 miles of the California Coast. A hunt for a Russian submarine just last month off the coast of Sweden turned up nothing but also led to increased tensions between the West and East.
“It’s more or less clear, in my reading at least, that we are swiftly moving to the new Cold War. But there is one important thing here, Russia has no resources Soviet Union had,” said Alexander Golts, a Moscow Times columnist and the founder of the Russian website ej.ru.com.