It seems that forecasts regarding NATO’s expansion eastward and threats to Russia announced by Russian defense Minister Sergei Ivanov at a conference in Munich come true. The AWACS E-3 Sentry radio-locating and radio-technical systems of which can cover an area of 600 kilometers flew along the Russian western border on February 23-24. It should be noted that Latvian official representatives promised that the AWACS would not fly near the Russian border or survey objects located in the Russian Federation. Meanwhile, the newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda reports that the aircraft flew near the Russian border at 5:30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m on February 23. The newspaper also notes that the aircraft used its systems to father data about the situation in Russia and Belarus. The AAWACS performed a similar flight over Lithuania the next day.
It should be noted that the flights took place when the Russian Army conducted a strategic command-staff exercise. This means that headquarters and other objects of the Russian military infrastructures worked actively during this period. Russian military sources say that the AWACS used the basic and auxiliary radarsand additional intelligence systems. This hardware makes it possible to detect and identify around 1,500 air targets. In other words, the AWACS flying over Latvia and Lithuanian n February 23-24 could control the situation in the air over Russia from the Kola peninsula to Arkhangelsk, Astrakhan and Novorossiisk.
Military sources in the staff of the Air Force note that NATO’s intelligence planes perform flights along the Russian border practically every day. Meanwhile, this cannot be compared with the flight of the AWACS plane because this is a secret complex. The Soviet Army would have used an air division in order to destroy such an intelligence plane near its border. It should be noted that the flight took place within the framework of the Partnership for Peace program. Moscow submitted an official application to send a Russian representative, who would observe the flight. Meanwhile, Russian observers did not receive a permission to participate in the flights. NATO stated that Latvia and Lithuania allegedly opposed such prospects.
In other words, it is evident that the alliance’s activities are hostile. This happens in the post-Soviet Baltic States, which have not yet signed the adapted conventional arms agreement, which means that they can deploy ass many armed groups on their territory ass they please. The Russian Foreign Ministry has already made an official statement regarding this matter.
Moscow stated: “This fact annoys Russia because it contravenes the agreement on mutual relations and cooperation between Russia and NATO.”
It should be noted that Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov and President Vladimir Putin did comment on these flights. Before Moscow’s reaction was strict when the AWACS intelligence planes appeared in Georgia. It is hard to say this has happened. Perhaps the presidential campaign was a very important factor. Russia did not notice this incident against the background of the government’s dismissal.