Flights of US and Russian bombers can result in deadly mishap
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Flights of US and Russian bombers can result in deadly mishap

James Jatras, a former US Senate foreign policy analyst, made the remarks while commenting on a report which said the United States and Russia had flown nuclear bombers over the Norwegian Sea, amid rising tensions following the recent withdrawal of the two Cold War-era arch foes from a landmark nuclear arms treaty and the build-up of NATO military forces on the US-led alliance’s eastern flank near Russia. The US Air Force Europe said in a statement that five giant B-52 bombers had flown over the Norwegian Sea on Thursday and that the planes had continued towards Iceland, the Barents Observer reported Saturday. “During the flights, five B-52s conducted training with Norwegian F-16 fighter jets,” the statement said. “Training with NATO allies like Norway enhances the capabilities and readiness of the alliance.” Jatras said, “The shadow-boxing between American and Russian bombers in the northern part of Europe over the waters of North Sea and the Baltic and even on the Arctic is simply another symptom of this confrontation that is growing between the United States and Russia.” “With the US withdrawal from the INF treaty and the Russians following suit based on the US withdrawal, we are looking at the cranking up of a very dangerous situation in Europe. Let’s remember that B-52s have recently been outfitted according to an article in the National Interest, with the capability of carrying cruise missiles with nuclear warheads,” he stated. “So the idea that these were just reconnaissance flights from the pro-Russian point of view is simply not sustainable, and no doubt the Russians have very capable weapons on the bombers that they are flying close to Britain and other NATO countries,” he added. “This is the kind of thing that can easily result in any mishap with devastating consequences. And I see no prospects unfortunately that the situation will turn around,” the analyst noted. US President Donald Trump suspended the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in February and threatened full withdrawal in six months. His Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, signed a decree in response, suspending Moscow’s participation in the nuclear arms treaty. Singed in 1987, the treaty banned the US and the former Soviet Union from creating ground-launched nuclear-capable missiles with ranges from 500 to 5,500 kilometers. The Trump administration says it would stay in the deal if Russia dismantles the 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile, which Washington believes is in violation of the INF. Russia has rebuffed US claims by showcasing the missile to journalists and revealing many of its sensitive specifications to ensure the international community that the Trump administration is being dishonest. While the INF-treaty includes land-based missiles, strategic bomber planes are regulated by the New START treaty between Washington and Moscow. The Russian and American flights with strategic bombers in the skies over and outside northern Europe were conducted at the same time as Northern Wind drills took place in northern Sweden. About 7,000 of the 10,000 participating soldiers came from Norway, Finland, USA and Great Britain.

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