Without warning, Russian Tu-142 anti-ship airplanes flew at low altitude over ships transporting NATO marines near the coast of Norway. The incident, which took place on November 2, was reported the following day, Deutsche Welle writes.
“The marines were on board the Mount Whitney, the flagship of the US Sixth Fleet,” the report states.
Moscow recently expressed its dissatisfaction at the holding of NATO’s Trident Juncture exercise, the alliance’s largest since the end of the Cold War.
Representatives of Russia said that they consider the event an “anti-Russian show of force”, and warned that there would be a response.
The Russian Defense Ministry later stated that two Russian aircraft had made a “planned flight” which lasted more than 12 hours.
“All flights by Russian Naval aircraft are done in strict accordance with the international rules for airspace use, without infringing on other countries’ borders,” the Russian military department’s spokesperson was cited as saying.
According to the company Avinor, the operator of most civilian airports in Norway, Russia gave notice that it would be testing missiles in the Norwegian Sea between November 1-3. NATO commented on the matter in a restrained manner.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg promised that the missile tests would not affect the drill. British Admiral Guy Robinson said that “everyone has the right” to be in the location where the incident took place. “These are international waters and international airspace,” he commented.
The Trident Juncture 18 military exercise will be held in Norway between October 25 and November 7, and will involve 50,000 soldiers from 30 NATO countries and their allies, as well as 10,000 vehicles, 250 aircraft and 65 ships. It is NATO’s largest drill since 2002 at least, and the largest in Norway’s history. Ukraine is also taking part in the exercises.