Russia: Expert discusses new threats to US ahead of summit
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During the European leg of Operation Allied Sky, four B-52 long-range bombers flew over 28 of the allied states over the course of 12 hours. The US bombers travelled over the likes of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
General Jeffrey Harrigian, commander of US and NATO air forces, called the mission an “awesome demonstration of NATO air superiority”.
He said it proves “there is no challenge we cannot tackle”.
General Harrigian added: “Bomber missions demonstrate the credibility of our forces to address a global security environment that is more diverse and uncertain than at any other time in our history.”
This comes as the US President will meet his Russian counterpart face-to-face this month.
The Switzerland summit will be held at the end of the US President’s visit to Europe and after he meets with American allies in NATO and the European Union.
According to a source familiar with the issue, no significant agreements are expected from the Geneva summit.
Last week, HMS Queen Elizabeth joined other warships from the US and eight other allied nations for operation Steadfast Defender.
The exercise started off the coast of Portugal and will conclude with ground exercises in the Black Sea region later this month.
The giant armada featured submarines, destroyers and frigates as well as aerial support from RAF’s brand new F-35B Lightning stealth fighters, Portuguese F-17 Fighting Falcons and Spanish F-18 Hornets.
The US anti-submarine Poseidon and Orion warplanes also featured in the huge military exercise.
While the military exercises were not aimed directly at Russia, they focussed on the Black Sea region where Moscow has deployed thousands of troops over recent weeks.
NATO warned Russia is mapping the undersea cables which carry commercial and communications data between the US and Europe.
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Norfolk’s commander US Navy Vice-Admiral Andrew Lewis warned Moscow may have darker intentions.
He said: “We all lulled ourselves into thinking that the Atlantic was a benign region in which there was not anything bad going on, and we could just use it as a free highway.
“There are nations are out there mapping those cables.
“They may be doing something else bad.
“We have to be aware of that and answer that.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned Russia’s aggressive behaviour towards Ukraine and vowed the UK will support the “transatlantic alliance”.
He told the Telegraph: “From Russia’s aggressive behaviour towards Ukraine to Lukashenko’s assault on civil aviation, democratic values are under attack.
“As one of the biggest contributors to Nato, UK support for the transatlantic alliance is unwavering.
“We will work with Allies and partners to defend our allies and our values.”
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