Russia calls Britain’s Black Sea air force interceptions dangerous

Russia accused Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) of intercepting its military aircraft over the Black Sea in a dangerous fashion designed to provoke Moscow. (Photo courtesy of UK Ministry of Defense)
Updated 26 August 2018
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Russia calls Britain’s Black Sea air force interceptions dangerous

MOSCOW: Russia accused Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) of intercepting its military aircraft over the Black Sea in a dangerous fashion designed to provoke Moscow after the RAF made two such interceptions in a single week.
The accusation, levelled by Russia’s embassy in London, came after the RAF intercepted a Russian maritime patrol aircraft over the Black Sea on Friday and scrambled to intercept two suspected Russian fighter aircraft on Wednesday.
.”... What kind of threat to Britain or even its allies does a Russian patrol aircraft hypothetically pose while conducting flights near Russia’s own coastline, more than 2,000 km (1242.74 miles) from the British Isles,” the Russian embassy said in a statement released on Saturday.
“Instead of strengthening anyone’s security, the British authorities are using such a military presence (in the Black Sea area) for provocative actions. Not just by making verbal statements, regrettable as they are, but also in real military terms, which is simply dangerous.”
The British defense and foreign ministries declined to comment on Sunday.
Three countries bordering the Black Sea — Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey — are NATO allies of Britain.
Britain’s Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster, spoke about “an ever more assertive Russia” in a speech in London in July. He said the RAF had been forced to intercept Russian military aircraft more than 80 times over the last decade.
Relations between London and Moscow are languishing at a post-Cold War low after the poisoning by nerve agent of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March in the English city of Salisbury.
London holds Moscow responsible for the attack, something Russia denies.
Britain’s RAF maintains a presence in the Baltic countries and in Romania to deter potential Russian military action after Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea. Moscow says its activity in the Black Sea region is routine and compliant with international law.


US backs Delhi’s right to self-defense over Kashmir attack: Indian government

Updated 8 min 58 sec ago
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US backs Delhi’s right to self-defense over Kashmir attack: Indian government

  • India’s government said it had evidence the group Jaish-e-Mohammad, had the backing of Pakistan and demanded Islamabad take action
  • India has for years accused Muslim Pakistan of backing separatist militants in divided Kashmir

NEW DELHI: The US supports India’s right to self-defense against cross-border attacks, India’s foreign ministry said on Saturday after a deadly car bombing in disputed Kashmir raised tensions with rival neighbor Pakistan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised a strong response after a Pakistan-based militant group claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on a military convoy on Thursday that killed 44 paramilitary policemen.
India’s government said it had evidence the group, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), had the backing of Pakistan and demanded Islamabad take action. Pakistan has condemned the attack and rejected India’s allegations.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton spoke to his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval on Friday night, promising to help bring those behind the attack to justice, the foreign ministry said in a readout of the phone call.
“The two NSAs vowed to work together to ensure that Pakistan cease to be a safe haven for JeM and terrorist groups that target India, the US and others in the region,” the foreign ministry said.
“They resolved to hold Pakistan to account for its obligations under UN resolutions,” it added.
India has for years accused Muslim Pakistan of backing separatist militants in divided Kashmir, which the neighbors both claim in full but rule in part.
Pakistan denies that, saying it only offers political support to the Himalayan region’s suppressed Muslim people.
Modi, who is facing an election in the next few months, has called a meeting of political parties on Saturday to build support for action against Pakistan.
Indians have poured onto social media to vent their fury over the suicide bombing in Kashmir, with many of them calling for swift retribution against Pakistan as TV news shows hosted jingoistic debates.
When he swept to power at the head of a Hindu nationalist-led alliance in 2014, Modi vowed to pursue a tough line with Pakistan. The two countries have gone to war three times since independence from Britain in 1947, twice over Kashmir.
The attack comes at a difficult time for Pakistan, which is struggling to attract foreign investment and avert a payments crisis, with its swiftly diminishing foreign currency reserves at less than $8 billion, equivalent to two months of import payments.