Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that the presence of American bombers in Europe and their flights close to Russia’s borders are causing increased tension in the region.
“Such actions by the US do not lead to reinforced security and stability in this region, which is directly adjacent to Russia’s borders,” Peskov said, adding that “from a military and tactical perspective, this matter should be commented on by military specialists”.
Early on 21 March, the Russian Defense Ministry published a video showing a US Air Force Boeing B-52H Stratofortress flying over the Baltic Sea and said that Su-27 fighters had been scrambled to intercept it. The department also reported that the bomber was flying “at a significant distance” from the Russian border. Later that day, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that the Su-27 fighters had returned to the air base after the B-52 changed its course and headed away from the Russian border.
On Monday 18 March, the monitoring resource PlaneRadar reported that a B-52H Stratofortress had flown close to the border of Russia’s Kaliningrad and Leningrad provinces. At one point, the plane was reportedly 191km from St. Petersburg.
A B-52H was also active in the Baltic region on 16 March, carrying out an imitation bombing of the Baltic Fleet. The bomber came no closer than 150 km from the Russian border. The Russian TV channel Zvezda reported that the plane turned around when Russian aerial defense forces began to escort it.