US admiral warns about Russian bombers
The commander of the US Northern Command has warned about Russia’s growing military moves near US borders, saying the Pentagon is watching flights by Russian heavy bomber aircraft.
“They’re messaging us that they’re a global power,” Adm. William Gortney told reporters during a Pentagon briefing on Tuesday. “We watch very carefully what they’re doing.”
The commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) added that the flights take place around Canada, Alaska and down the English Channel.
“The numbers have gone up, but I don’t like to give percentages, because one to five is 500 percent [and] that may overstate it. But the numbers have gone up, and where they’re flying are different,” the admiral said.
Two Russian ships have been tracked recently by the US military near Cuba and Venezuela, according to the NORAD commander.
Russia has developed a “far more capable military than the quantitative, very large military that the Soviet Union had,” Gortney said.
The warning comes amid increasing tensions between Washington and Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine.
The United States accuses Russia of supporting pro-Russian forces fighting in eastern Ukraine, an allegation denied by the Kremlin.
Meanwhile, the US and its European allies are conducting military drills near Russian borders following the Ukraine crisis.
The US Navy has sent a destroyer to the Black Sea to join Washington’s military exercises with NATO countries.
The guided missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham entered the Black Sea on April 3.
The United States began the drills, called Operation Atlantic Resolve, more than one year ago over the crisis in Ukraine.
The amphibious command ship Mount Whitney, frigate Taylor, cruiser Vella Gulf, and destroyers Truxtun, Donald Cook, Ross, and Cole are among other ships participated in the drills.
US Army Europe said in a statement last month that the forces will remain deployed for about nine months to reassure the Baltic states of its commitment in the face of Russia’s “aggressive moves” in Ukraine.