The contentious exchanges between Russian and NATO aircraft above Europe carried over into cyberspace early on Friday.
“6 interceptions of @NATO recon planes on our borders last week,” The Russian embassy in the UK tweeted Friday morning.
“Transparency, provided for by Open Skies Treaty, not enough?” the tweet concluded.
Russian aircraft and their NATO counterparts have had numerous encounters in recent months, especially in the skies over the Baltics, where both forces are highly active.
The Open Skies Treaty, which Russia and the US are party to, “is designed to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by giving all participants, regardless of size, a direct role in gathering information through aerial imaging on military forces and activities of concern to them,” according to the US State Department.
Moscow claims that 20 foreign aircraft, six of which were intercepted, flew close to the Russian border this last week, but would not provide additional details about the alleged incidents, according to Newsweek. But Russia also admitted that NATO planes didn’t stray from international airspace.
The Lithuanian Defence Ministry, however, also says that NATO jets intercepted Russian IL-20 aircraft in two separate incidents on July 4 and 7.
A Russian spokesperson told Newsweek that those two incidents were a “necessity, not luxury unlike what is done by NATO,” adding “We mind our legitimate business.” A NATO spokesperson also told Newsweek that “allies and NATO routinely fly reconnaissance aircraft over Central Europe … This is done in a safe and professional manner and in accordance with international law.”
Russian and NATO jets and ships have been playing a game of cat and mouse in Eastern Europe over the last few years.
Between March 2014 and April 2017 there have been 97 midair confrontations between Russian and western aircraft, according to western officials and advocacy group Global Zero. That was more than two-thirds of all air interceptions in the world during that period. Russian aircraft are usually the ones executing unsafe interceptions.
Between June 2 and June 20, there were at least 35 such interactions between Russian and NATO planes and ships in the Baltic Sea, according to Fox News.
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