Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the statement by the British Ministry of Defence on “interсеpting” a Russian maritime patrol aircraft over Black Sea

Question: How would you comment on the statement by the British Ministry of Defence that on 23 August Royal Air Force fighter jets stationed in Romania “interrupted” a "provocative" Russian aircraft over the Black Sea?

Answer: Russian armed forces strictly comply with international law and pose no threat to Britain. One might understand why Royal Navy escorts Russian military ships in the English Channel, in the vicinity of the British coastline, even if this there is no need for the UK to publicise it. But what kind of threat to Britain or its allies does a Russian patrol aircraft hypothetically pose while conducting flights off Russia's own shore, some 1500 miles away from the UK?

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and other British politicians who present such routine Russian activity as “provocative incidents”, are themselves behaving in a highly irresponsible manner. This latest episode aptly demonstrates how harmful is the very idea of deploying RAF and other NATO forces in Romania, Poland or Baltic states. Instead of strengthening anyone's security, such military presence is being used by the British authorities for provocative actions of their own - not only through verbal statements, regrettable as they are, but also in real military terms, which is simply dangerous.