In a flashback to the Cold War, on 18 July a U.S. Air Force surveillance aircraft that was in international airspace off Kaliningrad, the Russian territory that before 1945 was part of East Prussia, was chased by Russian fighters. As reported in The New York Times, the unarmed aircraft, an RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft known as a RIVET JOINT in the espionage trade, was sufficiently concerned by this threat that the large, lumbering plane headed for sanctuary over Gotland Island, a Swedish territory in the Baltic Sea. The U.S. Department of Defense apologized to Stockholm for this unplanned violation of Swedish sovereignty.
Unsatisfied with this, the Kremlin today publicly chastised the Swedes with a message entitled: “Comment by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Information and Press Department regarding the violation of Sweden’s airspace by an American RC-135 spy plane.”
Mincing no words, the Russian MFA employed mocking language reminiscent of the darker days of the Cold War to express its displeasure with Stockholm:
A recent breach of Sweden’s airspace by a U.S. RC-135 spy plane is a rather revealing case. It is interesting to know why Sweden, known for its policy of “freedom from military alliances,” suddenly decided to play along with the USA and made clumsy attempts to hide this fact from the Swedish and international community. However, the theory that the American pilots used Swedish airspace to escape Russian fighters looks like a challenge to common sense. We believe that sovereignty over national airspace is not a basis on which dubious Hollywood scripts could be spun out.
It is this build-up of the activities of NATO and those “true Balts,” the USA, in the Baltic region, which all this time was a zone of peace and stability, that leads to absurd situations such as a sudden “friendly” invasion of airspace of Sweden, which is not involved in military alliances. This line cannot be described other than irresponsible and short-sighted, poisoning the atmosphere in North Europe.
The Kremlin’s remarkable tone here, which is far from diplomatic, ought to concern everyone, given the already high state of tensions over Ukraine.
This gives a very bad vibe because except the final outcome it is essentially similar to the so called Catalina affair when the Soviets shot down a Swedish signal intelligence plane in the fifties. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalina_affair
Is ‘true Balts’ a local idiom of some sort that misses in translation?
Just Russians being stupid.
The lunatics have taken over the asylum…what the hell’s going on in Russia…is Putin writing this stuff?
The Soviets will miss no opportunity, not to give Sweden one more reason to seriously consider joining NATO.
(“True Balts”: no Russky nationalist can help himself, not trying to sing to the tune of stirring-up others’ nationalism. Soviet communism was built on that aspect of national-collectivistic socialism. There was never one without the other, no one of these guys can hide this – not Putin, not Churkin and not Lavrov).
welcome to the Cold War, Act II, Chapter 1, Verse V, I take it? It would not surprise me if a new Cold War is exactly what Putin wants; it cements his power, it keeps the Russians firmly distracted, and it provides the perfect excuse to act upon Putin’s latent revanchism.
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