Saturday, February 24, 2024

The Russians tried to destroy a British aircraft in the Black Sea with a cruise missile

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Alan Binder
Alan Binder
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A Russian fighter fired a cruise missile at a British spy plane last year Two Pentagon officials said the RC-135 is in international airspace. Last year, there was only talk of a guided missile incident, not an attack on a targeted aircraft.

British RC-135 River Joint reconnaissance aircraft. Photo: Royal Air Force

They confirmed the information in the documents, which the US is now investigating for the leak listu The New York Times Two officials of the US Department of Defense.

The incident now looks more serious. The New York Times describes it as the result of a communication error on the Russian side, rather than the intention of the Kremlin. But if a British plane, usually with thirty people on board, was shot down, it would be very difficult to predict what would happen next. It is virtually certain that the West will not let the attack go unanswered.

Last December, the Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Army, Karel Cheka, warned that the incident was serious. This could have resulted in the plane being shot down. Now imagine if that coalition aircraft had protection and the fighting started there. He said in an interview with Deník N.

Pentagon sources told the newspaper that the Russian pilot misinterpreted the words of a radar operator on the ground and interpreted them as authorization for the attack. “The pilot who targeted the plane opened fire, but the cruise missile did not fire,” the newspaper said. At that time, the Russian pilot was not within visual range of the British aircraft.

Last October, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace described the incident to members of Parliament as “potentially dangerous” and spoke of a cruise missile fired near a British aircraft.

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The RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft is a reconnaissance machine capable of eavesdropping on radio communications. Apparently, he found out what the Russian radar operator and the Su-27 fighter pilot said to each other.

The plane was in international airspace. This is unpleasant for Russia, because Western allies often share the data obtained with Ukraine, but at the same time, the operation of aircraft in international airspace is arranged from the point of view of law. After all, the Russians also use their military aircraft in international airspace.

The British responded reservedly to the New York Times investigation, saying in only general terms that a large part of the leaked documents were false, doctored, or both, and that it was worth considering their source and the reason for the leak. However, they did not explicitly deny the allegations of Pentagon officials. It is not yet clear which part of the documents is authentic and whether it was a problematic leak or a US media operation.

After the incident, the British stopped reconnaissance flights over the Black Sea, and then resumed them with fighter escorts. Airplanes also fly a little further than Crimea.

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