Russian and NATO armed forces have been testing each other's air might since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. But in the past eight months alone, as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine mounted, 40 dangerous or sensitive incidents have been reported—a jump that puts engagement at Cold War levels, according to the report by the European Leadership Network in London. Much of the activity has centered around the Baltic Sea, reports the Guardian, but reports also reach as far as the US and Canadian borders. In fact, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev says the world is now "on the brink of a new cold war."
"We believe the nearly 40 incidents logged are a very serious development, not necessarily because they indicate a desire on the part of Russia to start a war, but because they show a dangerous game of brinkmanship is being played," the authors say. Among the "highly disturbing" incidents, one of the more notable was a near midair collision between a Russian reconnaissance plane—which did not have its transponders on and thus failed to signal its presence to other aircraft—and a passenger jet in Denmark in March. The report calls on all sides to improve military communication, transparency, and restraint. (In July, the US accused Russia of violating a 1987 arms control treaty that helped end the Cold War.)