Russia and the United States in the skies over Crimea: whether is brewing military conflict?

Since the annexation of the Crimea were regular Russian fighter intercepts us reconnaissance over the Black sea, as well as demonstrative flights of the ships of the US Navy. For only one week in the air there were two incidents — 9 and may 12. Why did the US send their planes in the sky over the Crimea? What is more in Russian reaction — calculation or PR? What would happen if the planes of both countries still face?

Talking about this with a Lieutenant General, former Deputy chief of the General staff of the Armed forces of Ukraine Igor Romanenko, Ukrainian military expert Oleg Zhdanov and the Russian military columnist and Deputy editor-in-chief of “Daily journal” Alexander Goltz.

May 9 Russian fighter SU-27 flew 6 meters away from the American patrol aircraft Poseidon. Collision was avoided thanks to the skill of American pilots. May 12, the scenario repeated itself. After the annexation of the Peninsula, fearing international punishment for its actions, Russia has deployed in the black sea region attack aircraft, additional war ships and a new missile system. In response, the US increased the number of us troops on the black sea coast of Romania. In September 2016 a Russian fighter jet made a dangerous maneuver-the interception of a us patrol aircraft over the Black sea. Then the Russian fighter approached the American aircraft at 3 meters. Such incidents have occurred at sea. In 2015, NATO has increased its presence in the Black sea, and Russia relates to this extremely cautiously. The only thing that unites all cases of interceptions — the lack of consequences, not counting the statements of the Kremlin and the White house.

“The Crimea.Realities”: in touch With us Lieutenant General, former Deputy chief of the General staff of the Armed forces of Ukraine Igor Romanenko. Igor, is it possible that the US sent its spy planes in the sky over the Crimea and around it when Ukraine had full control of the Peninsula?

Igor Romanenko: Such acts have a long pedigree in Soviet times. Developed countries are military intelligence, and better intelligence — as close as possible to the object. Collision is one of its risks. In the Soviet era was carried out such flights. Russia — the successor of the USSR, and this is not surprising. The fact that the distance between the air and the marine facilities has been reduced to unsafe. It meters. And here the outcome depends on the state of the machine and the pilot, his skill. There is a strategic military question: why is it done? Have questions lower, technical-level intelligence, and technical security related. In Soviet times, for security reasons, was signed the relevant treaties, and Russia as successor to the USSR, and America have confirmed them, so that such conflicts do not develop into more. But lately, we see intelligence at the U.S. coast Russian intelligence ships, flying on the territory of NATO countries. Russia is experiencing the system and shows that will keep in shape anyone. Russia says it all — friendly pomahivaya. Very idyllic. This is actually need for exploration and military-strategic influence.

— Whether the Ukrainian side to take any action if such incidents continue?

Igor Romanenko: I am impressed by the active position. Ukraine learns it. Need to use both diplomatic and military means. They must perform their function in the overall intelligence system and air defense system: to raise the fighter, lead in the corresponding state of the anti-missile system, if there is a threat of violation of the limits. In war, the response should be certainly.

— We’ve got Ukrainian military expert Oleg Zhdanov. Oleg, do you think Americans were more likely to send their reconnaissance forces in the black sea region? Or just the media began to pay more attention to it?

Oleg Zhdanov: I think it’s more in the media. Violations of air space and of international norms in General has moved from the air borders of the European continent in the Crimea. In 2015-2016 there are more than 20 interceptions of Russian planes violate the airspace and carried out in dangerous proximity, even with a passenger aircraft. Just now, the Crimea remains a place where Russia commits such flights. In 2015 the US sixth fleet sent 9 ships, they are in the Black sea. Mainly ships and intelligence management, on Board of which there are reconnaissance aircraft. The flights they carry out regularly since the beginning of armed conflict in the East of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. Their main task is the early detection of launches of ballistic missiles, as well as monitoring the situation in conjunction with ground troops involved in the conflict. So regular reconnaissance flights.

— What is more in Russia’s actions — military calculation, or, roughly speaking, PR?

Oleg Zhdanov: From Russia, fortunately, it is only about PR. Russian aviation is very behind us. To speak of confrontation is not necessary. Because Russia and uses such methods as dangerous rapprochement with ships and planes in the air. For pilots it is an opportunity to show off cool peppers. But to confront the air force of Russia and create a real threat to American pilots can’t.

— We are connected to the Russian military observer, Deputy chief editor of the “Daily journal” Alexander Goltz. Alexander, you said “Voice of America” that with the increasing cases of interceptions on the part of Russia we are talking about some hooliganism. Why do you think so?

Alexander Golts: it’s Technically an air of hooliganism. Safely forgotten documents on safety in the airspace over the oceans adopted in the Cold war. These documents should prevent such incidents. But the Russian pilots got the command to scare Americans than to enjoy doing. And it may end very sad.

— Do you feel that the frequency of such incidents increased?

Alexander Goltz: Yes, such incidents occur including over the Baltic sea. At the NATO summit in Warsaw was a decision to strengthen groups, and naval presence of NATO in the Black sea more tangible. Of course the flights are performed primarily American forces sixth fleet naval aviation. Russia in typical style responds to the increased naval presence of NATO in the Black sea.

— As I understand it, in incidents 9 and 12 may, NATO forces were in neutral space?

Alexander Goltz: Yes, it is. They cross the border, everything would have been much worse.

— Why Russian planes came out to intercept?

Alexander Golts: When Russian planes approaching the airspace of the United States, and recently it was in the district of Alaska, similarly, rise fighters. Because when a plane is in your airspace, intercept too late. All this hooliganism occur in international airspace.

— What is it with Russia — a show of force in the international arena or internal PR?

Alexander Golts: both. In the first place — the desire to demonstrate “the Contracting parties”, that Russia has the ability to repel possible attack, and to Express dissatisfaction with the fact that they do have in international airspace over the Black sea.

— Let’s say Russian or American pilot did not cope with the management, and the collision happens between the two planes. What’s next?

Alexander Goltz: And this is the main question. The parties entered into the situation of a new Cold war. We have a military confrontation, which is not able to be resolved neither diplomatic nor military means. It will last quite a long time. It’s not the Cold war of the 1980s, when there were clear procedures, it was clear what is and what is not. And now we are entering a new, uncharted phase, when not working measures of mutual military trust. The impression that we are in the 1950s, the Cuban missile crisis and Korean war front. It is for that period was characterized by incidents by NATO planes. If there is an incident, we don’t know what to do next, and can only hope the reasonableness of the parties. But any incident can grow serious conflict. I’d say the likelihood of open conflict between Russia and the United States — less than 50%, because Russia swallowed the American attack on the airbase of Russian troops in Syria. The Kremlin, apparently, has a mind.