Military jets from the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom were scrambled to escort Russian bombers away from their airspace in the latest wildfire sparked by the confrontation between Russia and the West over Ukraine.
Meanwhile, a critical commentary on the dispute said President Obama, instead of taking assertive action, “dithers.”
Dutch defense department officials said they spotted two Russian TU-95 Bears, so they launched a couple of F-16s to intercept and make certain the Russian interlopers left.
“That’s why we scrambled, that’s why the Danish scrambled and the English scrambled, to ensure they fly out of our air space,” Dutch Maj. Wilko Ter Horst told the Associated Press.
Sky News reported it was an Royal Air Force Typhoon that took off from Leuchars air base, near Dundee, when the Russians were spotted.
The latest reports come as Russia threatens an invasion of Ukraine.
WND reported Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested Russia would move directly if its “interests” were at risk.
“If our interests, our legitimate interests, the interests of Russians have been attacked directly, like they were in South Ossetia, for example, I do not see any other way but to respond in full accordance with international law,” he said.
South Ossetia is a breakaway province of Georgia in the South Caucasus. In 2008, Russian troops moved into it, along with another Georgian breakaway province, Abkhazia. Tanks and troops reached the edge of Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, before Putin, who then was Russia’s prime minister, halted the advance after five days, due to pressure from President George W. Bush.
Russia then declared South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent countries, which the international community largely does not recognize.
Georgian sources told WND that Russia intends to take action similar to what it did in Crimea by annexing South Ossetia to the Russian Federation. It’s part of an overall Russian strategy to set up buffer zones against NATO encroachment to the Russian border.
Fox News reported U.S. Army paratroopers were dispatched Wednesday to Poland as part of an effort to shore up America’s Eastern European allies.
Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the show of strength is part of a plan for U.S. troops to rotate in and out of four Eastern European nations for exercises, according to the report.
“We’re looking at trying to keep this rotational presence persistent throughout the rest of this year,” Kirby told reporters.
At the same time, the instability in Ukraine seemed to be increasing.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, vandals have hit several Jewish sites in Ukraine over the past few days.
The report said the Sevastopol Holocaust memorial was spray-painted and vandals defaced a number of grave sites, according to the Blaze.
There were bombs thrown at a couple of synagogues, too, the report said.
A CNN report confirmed there are multiple locations in Ukraine that now are being held by “pro-Russian protesters, sometimes led by masked and well-armed men in uniform.”
The report said protesters who reject the Ukrainian government are demanding a vote that would allow them to withdraw from Ukraine. Lavrov previously had said Russia had no plans to invade or annex, even though 40,000 soldiers are close to the border.
It was the Washington Post editorial board that criticized Obama with the headline “President Obama, disregarding his own red line, dithers on Ukraine.”
“For weeks Mr. Obama has held back on forceful measures against Mr. Putin’s aggression in Ukraine on the theory that a measured approach matched with diplomacy would yield results,” the paper said. “The policy has failed. Now Mr. Obama must act – or doom Ukraine to dismemberment.”