RAF scrambles to intercept Russian bombers

#1
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article2093759.ece

RAF fighter jets were scrambled to intercept two Russian strategic bombers heading for British airspace yesterday, as the spirit of the Cold War returned to the North Atlantic once again.

The incident, described as rare by the RAF, served as a telling metaphor for the stand-off between London and Moscow over the murder of Alexander Litvinenko.

While the Kremlin hesitated before responding to Britain’s expulsion of four diplomats, the Russian military engaged in some old-fashioned sabre-rattling.

Two Tu95 “Bear” bombers were dispatched from their base on the Kola Peninsula in the Arctic Circle and headed towards British airspace.
 
#2
As predictable as night following day.....the Russkies send some aircraft over to rattle the sabre (and generate ops-room Cold War nostalgia) following a tiff. :D
 
#3
Does that mean the whole of the British Army is going to move back to BAOR and Active Edge Exercises? Brilliant, we could do with a rest. C'mon, 3rd Shock Army!!!
 
#4
In some ways it seems quite a measured response. Had they really wanted to put the frighteners on us then they would have sent some T-160's which have a performance similar to Concorde.

The other thing is that it may not be related to the expulsions at all. The Typhoon formally entered service last week as the Rapid response aircraft to any potential threats. Maybe Russia was just testing if this changed the reaction times of the RAF like they used to do for future reference, but got the Tornado's sent up rather than the new Typhoons :) .
 
#5
Interesting link, which may explain why we actually reacted to the first murder... Do it once, we may smooth things over, but start treating our capital city as your security services' private assassination playground, and we start to get a bit irritated...

Another attempt
 
#6
Sergey, you have to admit, dispatching two bombers is a very crude way of playing the politics game. Also, I would say quite a foolish move on the international stage.
 
C

cloudbuster

Guest
#7
Interesting. AFAIK, QRA North is still being done by Tornado F3, normally out of Leuchars. But Leuchars runway is being resurfaced at present.

And before someone shouts either OPSEC or BEADWINDOW, this info is all in the public domain.
 
#10
What Putin could do in this situation? Of course 4 British diplomats would be expelled. But I fear that BP would face hard times in Russia.

BP owns 50% stake in huge Russian oil company TNK-BP. I would not be surprised if some 'ecological' wrongdoings would be 'found'. Also TNK-BP need licenses to drill and respective decisions could be 'postponed'.

Really it would not be a big blow to British economy but if you own BP shares then sell them just now.

I see that British government is softening its approach. As a rule expelled diplomats are give 48 hours to quit. But in this case 10 days were given. It is a good sign.

From my point of view the Russian should only expell 4 British diplomats, impose restriction on visas for British officials and that all.
 
#11
KGB_resident said:
From my point of view the Russian should only expell 4 British diplomats, impose restriction on visas for British officials and that all.
OR, they could hand over the gentleman who decided (was ordered by Putin) to murder a British Citizen and put several others at risk by commiting what is infact a radiological attack on British soil?

Has Putin been reading Stalin's memoires and taking notes?
 
#12
botfeckid,

Thanks for the link.

It does explain the tough stand taken by the British govt.

But the bombers heading towards the UK is a odd thing, though it could be to tast the British AD as also maybe it has something to do with the proposed ABM, who knows?

All sorts of reasons could be there.

I saw the BBC yesterday and some experts feel the Russian retaliation would be to hurt British business.

Though I think that both sides will do some posturing for the domestic audience and then it will be back to normal.

Did the Russians ask for the extradiction of the Chechen terrorist and the British govt say nix?
 
#13
going down the path of blaming bp, who are owned mostly by americans and have a board room controlled by americans, is a dangerous game to play for the future of the russian oil industry. Other companies will start to get nervous and likely increase their production costs forwith, not good for Russia or the companies
 
#14
Actually, if the international oil prices go up, it is to Russia's advantage.

That is what the experts on the BBC programme stated and said that much of Russia's rejuvenation has taken place with the hike in international oil prices!
 
#15
Rayc said:
Though I think that both sides will do some posturing for the domestic audience and then it will be back to normal.
A return to the Cold War days of posturing? An expensive exercise for all concerned - does Russia really want to spend money on gestures these days?

However, posture politics is at least fairly harmless. What continues to concern me is the arrogance of Putin, his reluctance to accept Russia's new place in the world order and the undiplomatic way he and his Government respond to International events. One serious miscalculation and we really will be "Back to the 60s".
 
#17
KGB_resident said:
BP owns 50% stake in huge Russian oil company TNK-BP. I would not be surprised if some 'ecological' wrongdoings would be 'found'. Also TNK-BP need licenses to drill and respective decisions could be 'postponed'.

Really it would not be a big blow to British economy but if you own BP shares then sell them just now.
BP as already got the message that the big Russian bear is no longer happy about its activities. Already sold out to Gasprom on the cheap its future exploration and rights. On news that it was selling up, last month, BP shares rose!
 
#18
I think in this case any retaliation is likely to be at the diplomatic level and not against business.

The UK is the single biggest investor in Russia as the kremlin well knows and if you scare off the British, other investors will become shy as well which is not what they want. An additional factor that is significant is the number of Russian companies seeking listings on the London stock exchange currently, many of whom will put cash straight into the Kremlins coffers as IPO's. These could be at risk.

I suspect the reason for the slow response by the Kremlin is that it needs to balance all these factors before making a decision. The arrest of an alleged assasin in London by the security services that has been leaked to the press will have made the Russian response more complex. Said assassin may be used as a bargaining chip between the two countries.

I think pragmatism will rule and any retaliation may well be purely diplomatic.
 
#19
blue_sophist said:
Rayc said:
Though I think that both sides will do some posturing for the domestic audience and then it will be back to normal.
A return to the Cold War days of posturing? An expensive exercise for all concerned - does Russia really want to spend money on gestures these days?

However, posture politics is at least fairly harmless. What continues to concern me is the arrogance of Putin, his reluctance to accept Russia's new place in the world order and the undiplomatic way he and his Government respond to International events. One serious miscalculation and we really will be "Back to the 60s".
Actually after Yeltsin it has become incumbent to indicate that Russia is not a total 'has been'. That is why Putin is posturing that Russia still has some of its clout in the world arena. The Russian bombers heading towards UK is a total sham and more of posturing.

With the total confusion that has gripped the ME, consequent to the Iraq War, Russia is ideally placed to upset the US in this region since all Arab nations are not too happy with the US action, more so because they are Sunnis and Iraq has become Shia dominant. Unless Russia indicates that it still has enough to be a reckonable force and can taken on the US, she cannot instil any confidence in the forces inimical to the US in that region.

In this context, the Russian plan to have berthing facilities in Syria and overtures to Turkey is relevant. Iran, is all too ready to play ball with Russia.
 
#20
The_Goon said:
Begs the question, though, blue_sophist; Where is the UK's place on the world stage now?
Poorly placed, I think. Except in the realms of Finance and The City, we are minor players. Our only major contribution [which we can ill-afford] is loyalty to Allies and a willingness to "commit". More than can be said for much of NATO and, indeed, many other countries.

Rayc makes good points. In many respects Russia is well-placed to "insert itself" in troubled areas [no change there, then!] and certainly offers a "Not American" option in the ME.
 
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