Russian-Belarusian paratroopers carry out military exercises
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The British Typhoons were scrambled from Lossiemouth, Scotland, and Coningsby, Lincolnshire on Friday. They were accompanied by a refuelling jet from Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, in response to two Russian bombers.
According to the Ministry of Defence, two Russian Tu-160 ‘White Swan’ bombers entered “the UK area of interest” on Friday.
In a statement, the MoD said: “Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighters based at RAF Lossiemouth & Coningsby were scrambled today against unidentified aircraft approaching the UK area of interest.
“Subsequently we intercepted and escorted two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack, long-range strategic bomber aircraft.”
The Russian bombers did not enter UK airspace, and no further details were given.
Mil Radar data said the Russian warplanes approached Dutch airspace before being intercepted by the RAF and were seen heading north into international airspace over the North Sea at around 12.45pm.
Mariusz Blaszczak, Poland’s defence minister, also said British Royal Engineers had started a “reconnaissance” mission with Polish peers.
He said: “Our soldiers will co-operate in strengthening the fence of the Polish-Belarusian border.”
Exercises involving Russian paratroopers were designed to test the allies’ rapid response forces because of an “increase of military activities near the Belarusian border”.
It comes as Russia traded barbs with Western members of the UN Security Council on Thursday.
Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway, the United States and Britain raised the migrant crisis during a closed-door meeting of the 15-member body.
Russia’s deputy U.N. Ambassador, Dmitry Polyanskiy, told reporters ahead of the council meeting that he believed his Western council colleagues “have some kind of masochist inclinations because to raise this topic, which is a total shame for the EU, in front of us would be very brave”.
It comes also as Dominic Cummings has skewered Mr Johnson over the idea of him engaging with the “very worrying” crisis in Europe.
He said on Twitter: “All jokes firmly aside, the situation with Russian troops is very very worrying, is not remotely being properly covered by MSM, and the thought of this PM engaging with it makes my blood run cold – and many others in 70WH.”
Andrew Adonis, Labour member of the House of Lords, responded: “A pity you put him there then.”
Tobias Elwood, former defence minister and chair of the Commons Defence Committee, warned the crisis in Europe should worry the UK.
He said: “Russia and Belarus’s aggression in Eastern Europe is not mutually exclusive and should deeply concern the West.
“It’s a test of our collective resolve.
“If we are not resolute in our support for Poland and Ukraine then authoritarianism wins and we invite further destabilising adventurism.”
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