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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pentagon Claims Russian Air Force Planes Endanger Civil Flights

RIA Novosti

02:59 01/11/2014

WASHINGTON, November 1 (RIA Novosti) - Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby during a press briefing on Friday stated that Russian Air Force planes pose a risk to civil aviation.

"Well, we certainly don't see this - these increased flights and activity as helpful to the security situation in Europe. Clearly, they - they pose the potential risk of escalation. They also, quite frankly, could pose just a potential risk to civil aviation just in the sheer number of and size of and scope of these flights. So, they're not - they're not exactly helpful," Kirby said.

"But we're watching these flights very, very closely. I can tell you that there was another - there were more flights today - NATO-tracked flights out over the Baltics and North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The aircraft involved fighter jets, long-range bombers, and tanker aircraft," Kirby added.

Relations between Russia and NATO have deteriorated amid the crisis in Ukraine. The alliance has repeatedly accused Russia of meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs, sending troops to Ukraine, and went as far as to claim that Moscow planned to invade Ukraine. However, none of these statements were supported with any evidence.

At the same time, after Crimea reunited with Russia in March, NATO has begun placing additional military forces in the Baltics.

Russia has repeatedly expressed concern over the increasing and excessive NATO military presence close to its borders.

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