Theodore's World: Russian Bombers Getting Closer To U.S.

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August 15, 2007

Russian Bombers Getting Closer To U.S.

Russian bombers

Russian bombers getting closer to US: American commander WASHINGTON (AFP)

Long-range Russian bombers are flying more often and closer to US territory, a top US commander said Tuesday, as Moscow made its latest show of military might with exercises over the North Pole.

General Gene Renuart, Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and US Northern Command, the agencies charged with protecting US and Canadian airspace, said that US forces would continue to monitor the activity.

"Over the last few months the Russian air force has been flying a little bit more than we've seen in the past; certainly they're ranging farther than they have in the more recent past," Renuart said in a statement.
"NORAD has intercepted them out over international waters, near Alaska, and the command continues to monitor all of their long range bomber flight activity, even today," he added.

His comments came as Moscow announced that its strategic bombers had begun exercises over the North Pole and just a week after Russian planes flew within a few hundred kilometers (miles) of a US military base on the island of Guam.

The nuclear-capable bombers in the five days of exercises starting Tuesday were to practice firing cruise missiles, navigation in the polar region and aerial refueling maneuvers, the Russian air force said in a statement.

One Russian air force officer, who asked not to be identified, told AFP he expected US interceptors would make their presence felt during the exercises.

"It is a traditional practice for military pilots to see foreign pilots come up to meet them and say hello," he said. "The United States are aware of our exercise," he added.

Last week, several Russian strategic bombers flew over the Pacific to near Guam and, according to a Russian general, exchanged grins with US fighter pilots.

The incident capped a summer in which President Vladimir Putin has sought to project power far and wide, building on a rearmament programme fueled by oil and gas revenues.

"At every opportunity Russia is showing its return to power, including military. It's a demonstration for two audiences -- domestic and for the rest of the world," Moscow-based analyst Alexander Goltz told AFP last week.

The long-distance flight by the strategic bombers, impossible for years because of severe under-funding, also recalled an incident in July when bombers deployed near Scotland and Norway during a diplomatic row with Britain.

And it's not just in the skies that Russia wants the world to take notice.

On August 2 Russian explorers descended 4,261 meters (13,980 feet) under the Arctic to plant a flag on the sea bed and demonstrate in a theatrical fashion Moscow's contested claim to the mineral-rich territory under the North Pole.

The following day, the navy's chief of staff suggested reestablishing a full-time Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean for the first time since the Soviet era.

Meanwhile the ground army, which was badly mauled in more than a decade of fighting Chechen rebels, is getting new equipment and improved training.

"For the Kremlin it's very important to retain at least one area where we equal the United States -- and we are adamant about showing this," Goltz said.

Russia's generals deny they are up to anything sinister and Russian political commentator Yuliya Latynina said there was nothing to fear from the recent muscle-flexing.

"Thank God. We are showing our strength with bombers, the North Pole flag, et cetera, but we are not making war," she said.

Wild Thing's comment........

We could always demonstrate our new airborne lasers.

Posted by Wild Thing at August 15, 2007 12:45 AM


And, where is our mighty fleet of B-52's that held the Soviets at bay for four decades? Except for about 66 BUFF's, the rest awaiting the guitine.,-110.822783&spn=0.003897,0.007296&z=17

Posted by: BobF at August 15, 2007 08:49 AM

Bob - That made me sick when I saw news footage of the B52s being chopped up. I want a president that does not believe in treaties.

Putin is an annoying little bastard. He is attempting to restart the Cold War. The World is lining up against America. We are being picked at from all sides. The Russians rearm, the Chinese build a one-way trade imbalance and build up militarily, the Third World crosses our borders illegally and the moslems promise our destruction.

I want some tough people in the White House, Congress and State Department. Quit signing treaties, making pledges of peace and backing down. We have been through this crap before. Reagan got us out of it once by being strong and firm, not compassionate and born-again.

Closing our borders and opening up our natural resources for exploration and recovery are two quick ways we can build up our strength and independence.

Posted by: TomR at August 15, 2007 11:40 AM

What is Russia doing?
Do they really want to make this an issue?
We can and probably would decimate them quickly and effectively and efficiently.
I have no clue why Putin wants a cold war again.
Maybe Bubba and Hitlery poisoned his mind before Bush took office.
Remember, the Clintons like socialism and communism.
They want us to all be friends and go get ice cream and pizza after the big game.
Time to stop being wishy washy and do what needs to be done.
Anyone remember EMBARGOS?
No aid to countries that harbor terrorists. That means nothing--no medicine, food, oil, loans, nothing. Make their countrymen hate their political leaders so much that they'd be willing and ready to give up and get back to normal.

Posted by: Lynn at August 15, 2007 08:53 PM

"Thank God. We are showing our strength with bombers, the North Pole flag, et cetera, but we are not making war," she said.

Maybe not. Sure are doing a bang up job of letting others do it by proxy. How many jets were sold to Iran? What else? What has been sold to the NorKs? al-Q? Chavez? Putin cannot be trusted. He wants to bring back the Cold War days.

Posted by: raz0r at August 15, 2007 10:01 PM

Bob thank you so much for the link. I had never seen that before.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 15, 2007 11:35 PM

Me too Tom, I want that so much. This is a real turning point for this country. We will either survive and be ok, or we will crumble and be destroyed.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 15, 2007 11:39 PM

Lynn, you said it, Putin is sure acting like he wants the cold war back or worse.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 15, 2007 11:41 PM

razOr, exactly we sell to our enemies how stupid is that. Give money to the Hamas etc. too.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 15, 2007 11:44 PM

Fortunately, the bombers the Russians claimed entered our airspace (the Pentagon denies it and considering the veracity of the Russian military I'd tend to side with the Pentagon) don't look anything like the jets pictured, which I believe to be the passenger Concorde. They're still using Tu-95 prop planes. For a picture:

Posted by: Michael Fumento at August 16, 2007 12:12 PM