Home Australia Russia threatened to shoot down NATO aircraft over the Black Sea just weeks ago in potentially catastrophic escalation of the Ukraine war, France reveals

Russia threatened to shoot down NATO aircraft over the Black Sea just weeks ago in potentially catastrophic escalation of the Ukraine war, France reveals

by Elijah
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French air force pilots regularly patrol NATO's eastern flank, part of the 31-nation military alliance's efforts to bolster its defenses since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago.
  • French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu said Russia was returning to a “particularly aggressive” posture.

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Russia threatened to shoot down French flights patrolling international airspace over the Black Sea just weeks ago in a potentially catastrophic escalation of the Ukraine war, France has revealed.

French air force pilots regularly patrol NATO’s eastern flank, part of the 31-nation military alliance’s efforts to bolster its defenses since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago.

The country’s Defense Minister, Sebastien Lecornu, did not give specific details about the French flights or aircraft involved in the incident.

He said Russia was returning to a “particularly aggressive” posture reminiscent of the former Soviet Union’s behavior during the Cold War.

Lecornu told RTL radio: ‘A month ago, to give you a very concrete example, a Russian air traffic control system threatened to shoot down French planes in the Black Sea when we were in an international free zone where we patrolled.

French air force pilots regularly patrol NATO's eastern flank, part of the 31-nation military alliance's efforts to bolster its defenses since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago.

French air force pilots regularly patrol NATO’s eastern flank, part of the 31-nation military alliance’s efforts to bolster its defenses since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago.

French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu said Russia was returning to a “particularly aggressive” posture reminiscent of the former Soviet Union’s behavior during the Cold War.

‘Russia’s behavior in 2024 has no relation to what we saw in 2022 and, obviously, before the aggression in Ukraine.

“This is explained by the fact that Russia is in difficulties on the Ukrainian battlefield.”

French flights include long-range patrols using its AWACS surveillance aircraft.

Flying high above the Black Sea coast, they use their powerful radar and other surveillance equipment to observe the Crimean peninsula, which was seized from Ukraine by Russia and annexed in 2014.

Surveillance flights can detect missile launches, aerial bombardments and other military activities in the Ukraine conflict.

Russian pilots have sometimes made it clear that they do not like to be watched.

In 2022, a Russian fighter jet launched a missile near a British Air Force RC-135 Rivet Joint surveillance aircraft flying in international airspace over the Black Sea, the UK government said.

The US government released a video in March last year of a Russian fighter jet dumping fuel on a US Air Force surveillance drone. The drone crashed in the Black Sea.

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