Vladimir Putin is thought by some to be the most underhanded leader on the international stage. Many commentators believe the Russian leader, and former KGB operative, has a new trick up his sleeve, and it involves flying into airspace where his pilots are not permitted.
The Inquisitr previously reported on Putin’s antics in the middle east. Last week the Russian leader accused the United States of leaking information about one of his jets to Turkey, who then shot down the plane. Putin complained that America had “stabbed him in the back,” and questioned whether it is safe to share his information with the U.S. and its allies as they band together to fight against ISIS.
Putin was so angry about the downing of his jet that he has just ordered sanctions against Turkey, as reported by Reuters. Putin cited the “national security” of Russia as his reason for making the move.
The potentially economically-crippling sanctions against Turkey are not the harshest idea that the Russians have had. Apparently one politician in Putin’s cabinet told the Russian president he should “nuke Instanbul” in retaliation for the loss of the Russian jet.
While Turkey is bearing the major brunt of Putin’s wrath, the Russian leader is not happy with the U.S. either. Putin accused the U.S. of leaking the flight path of his jet, saying Turkey “knew the exact time and place” where Russian pilots would be flying, as reported by The Daily Mail. Russians claim the fighter jet never entered Turkish airspace, though Turkish officials say it did, and they have also released a recording of what they claim is a warning Turkey gave to the Russian pilot when he was about to fly into Turkish airspace.
ABC News has released a map showing the conflicting flight paths provided by Russia and Turkey. Apparently the Russian jet flew into a tiny sliver of land that juts into Syria, and which actually belongs to Turkey.
Could Russia have been unaware of how their flight was transgressing on Turkish territory?
Many believe the Russian leader has a whole other plan in mind, and that Putin is engaging in shady, underhanded tactics typical of a former KGB operative. In a piece called “Standing Up Against The Bullies”, Daily Sabah reports that Putin regularly and deliberately instructs his pilots to fly into forbidden areas.
“Russia is making incursions into NATO airspace to target the reaction”, writes an Istanbul correspondent. This is apparently the Russian leader’s method for “gathering information” about radar systems, enemy response times and activity in foreign military bases.
“Russia is making incursions into NATO airspace to target the reaction. With such incursions the Russians can learn about the radar system. They can learn where planes are scrambled from, how rapid the response time is, and which bases are most active.”
These “cold war” tactics also allow the inscrutable Putin to get a feel for international mood towards his enemies. And if the country he is bullying fights back – as Turkey did – Putin can then cry “betrayal” and up his aggressive behavior.
“[I]mportantly for the Russians, they can [by transgressing on foreign territory] gauge how the leaders of the country in question respond. And in this response, do the people of the nation support their leader? Also they can understand how seriously the international community and/or NATO backs up the response of the leader in question.”
In the last two years, there have been over 100 incidents in which Russian planes have violated NATO airspace. Previous “victims” of these transgressions have included the U.K. to Norway.
Just today, NDTV reported that Japan has resorted to scrambling jets in an effort to intercept a Russian plane that was flying close to Japanese territory, using what is believed to be Putin’s favorite intimidation tactic.
The incident mirrored the one in Turkey, with the Russian jet only “briefly violating” Japanese airspace.
The plane was in Japanese airspace for about 16 seconds, and the Japanese foreign ministry has reportedly lodged a formal protest of the incident.
According to Daily Sabah, a Russian jet used “aggressive actions” during a recent Turkish incident, and broke “the accepted rules of engagement” in more ways than one.
“[M]ore than merely flying into Turkish airspace, for over five minutes a Russian Su-30SM fighter locked its radar onto the Turkish F-16s that had been sent to intercept it; this was an aggressive action that is not in keeping with the accepted rules of engagement.
At the time of this report, Al Jazeera had just reported that one of these incidents may have involved a Chinese jet, rather than a Russian one.
The Inquisitr has previously reported that China is overhauling its military in preparation to make “more assertive territorial claims”.
Are Russia and China using planes to intimidate? Was Japan right to scramble jets and intercept the air-space bullies?
[Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool photo via AP]