World War 3 worries were triggered across Europe when 26 Russian jets, including Tu-95 Bear bombers and MiG-31 fighters, invaded European airspace. According to a NATO statement on Oct. 29, the Russian jets conducted significant military manoeuvers in European airspace over the Baltic Sea, North Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Black Sea on Oct. 28 and Oct. 29. The sizable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European airspace and are raising World War 3 concerns across Europe.
As CNN reports, “An ‘unusual’ uptick in the size and scale of Russian aircraft flying throughout European airspace in recent days has raised alarm bells for NATO officials that come amid other provocations already rattling the West.”
The Russian bombers and fighter jets had not filed flight plans, had maintained radio contact with civilian air traffic control authorities, nor were they using on-board transponders. “This poses a potential risk to civil aviation as civilian air traffic control cannot detect these aircraft or ensure there is no interference with civilian air traffic.”
On Wednesday, NATO radars detected and tracked four Russian Tu-95 Bear H strategic bombers and four Il-78 tanker aircraft that were flying in formation over the North Sea. After Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16 jets scrambled and intercepted the Russian planes, six of the Russian jets turned back to the north-east towards Russia. The remaining two Russian Tu-95 Bear H bombers continued over the North Sea and the Atlantic reaching Portugal. Typhoon fighters from the United Kingdom were scrambled in response, and the Russian jets were eventually intercepted by F-16s from the Portuguese Air Force.
On Tuesday, seven Russian combat aircraft, including 2x MiG-31 Foxhound, 2x Su-34 Fullback, 1x Su-27 Flanker and 2x Su-24 Fencer jets were detected flying in the Gulf of Finland and were intercepted by German Typhoon fighter jets from NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission in order to protect Allied air space. The Russian jets continued flying into the Baltic Sea where they had to be stopped by Allied fighters from Denmark and non-NATO members Finland and Sweden.
During the past two days, fighter jets from Norway, Britain, Portugal, Germany, Turkey, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden responded to the unusual invasion of Europe by Russian fighter jets. Over 100 intercepts of Russian jets have been conducted so far in 2014, making it already three times as many as in 2013. As BBC reports, tensions between Russia and Europe amplified after Putin’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula earlier this year. With the most recent presence of Russian fighter jets over Europe airspace and Putin’s increasingly aggressive foreign policy, concerns are growing that Putin would dare to start World War 3.