Russian Jets Keep Crossing Into Ukraine
The Pentagon tells Russia to "de-escalate the situation'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 25, 2014 5:35 PM CDT
Russian Army Su-25 jet fighters fly near the Baikal Lake in Russia on Wednesday, July 17, 2013.    (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)

(Newser) – US defense officials said today that Russian fighter jets flew into Ukrainian airspace a handful of times over the last 24 hours, in what one called a continued provocation of the heightened tensions in the region. The officials said it's not clear what the intent was, but the aircraft could have been testing Ukrainian radar or making a show of force. Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, confirmed the flights, adding that the US is calling on the Russians "to take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation."

The flights come as Russia increases military exercises along the Ukraine border, including moving a broad array of fixed wing and rotary aircraft, infantry, and armored troops. The exercises inflame worries about a potential Russian military incursion into Ukraine. The West has threatened additional sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Ukraine's Crimean region in March and the ongoing escalation of military operations along the border. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with his Russian counterpart, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, yesterday, but officials were not able to provide details of the conversation. (See how Ukraine's prime minister is amping up the rhetoric.)

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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Apr 27, 2014 1:03 AM CDT
What constitutes an "aircraft"? Would it be a flying machine encroaching on foreign airspace?
Apr 26, 2014 2:39 PM CDT
Ukraine is a proxy for the USA. By demonstrating that he can push NATO and the USA around, Putin is demonstrating he can push the USA, the UK, France, Germany, etc. around. Putin's point in attacking Ukraine is to demonstrate that NATO and the USA no longer have the will and determination to be free countries. I think he is wrong. But Putin seems to be the kind of leader Russians like, someone like Stalin. I think that, like centuries of Russian leaders before him, Putin is going to reduce his country to a nation of impoverished beggars. Bush almost reduced to the USA to being a state of beggars (begging China for loans)to, with his silly war-of-choice in Iraq. The USA public has suffered for the cost of that war, even though the USA had a few other nations helping them wage it. And Bush almost reduced the USA to being a state of beggars by giving money away in bail-outs to mega-millionaire bankers. But Bush's bailouts were nothing compared to the give away of national wealth to oligarchs that occurred in Russia. Russians seem to think that Putin copying (semi-copying) what the Bush did in the past is best policy, but in reality the Bush made many mistakes that cost the USA dearly. And likewise other US presidents in the past 2 decades have made similar mistakes. Russians should copy what western nations do right, instead of copying the mistakes of the USA. And Russians should fight for a free press, for the freedom to write and read articles on what their leadership is really doing, rather than propaganda.
Apr 26, 2014 2:30 PM CDT
If we do not act forcefully now, if we repeat Neville Chamberlain's mistakes at Munich, we're going to end up in a serious long-term war, where Russia gobbles up Ukraine, then Moldova, then Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, until we engage Russia in a shooting war with tens or hundreds of thousands dead. NATO's response to Putin's aggression should be: 1. Sanctions prohibiting travel to NATO countries for ALL of Russia's oligarchs. Hit Putin where it counts by hitting the profitability and life-style of his fellow ex-KGB agents. 2. All NATO nations that are not on the eastern edge of NATO should create permanent bases in the NATO nations that are on the eastern edge: Latvia, Estonia, Lithiuania, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Poland and Romania. (Yes we told Russia we would not do that, but that was in return for Russia promising it was no longer a military threat. Russia unilaterally voided that agreement.) Generally these need not be huge bases, just a few hundred troops each. 3. Admit any European nation that requests membership to NATO. 4. End oil imports from Russia. Because of fracking the USA no longer needs middle eastern oil, so that oil is now available to Europe. And build new nuclear plants to replace fossil fuel use permanently.