Letter to the Editor of the Daily Telegraph, published on 23 February 2015
SIR – You report, in accordance with the unfriendly statements of Michael Fallon, that the flights of Russian strategic bombers were, so the MoD said “unprecedented since the height of the Cold War”.
Russian planes do regularly fly to remote geographical areas and will continue to do so. This is required for personnel training and to verify aircraft capabilities. All flights are carried out in strict accordance with international regulations.
Flights of Russian military aircraft are often accompanied by jets from Nato countries and their partners. This is ordinary practice, and the level of public attention on the latest incidents in the vicinity of British airspace is overblown.
Military activity by Nato aircraft at Russian borders is far more intense, having doubled since early 2014 and reaching 3,000 sorties that year.
By way of comparison, Russian reconnaissance aircraft carried out just over 200 sorties over the Baltic Sea area from March to December 2014, compared to 125 over the same period in 2013.
The growing disparity between the actual situation and the official rhetoric of some Western leaders is not helpful for restoring trust, which is probably the main victim of the current crisis in relations between Russia and the West.
Dr Alexander Yakovenko
Ambassador of the Russian Federation