Russia Feeling Frisky! Does Putin Want War?

From Fox News:

WASHINGTON — U.S. fighter planes intercepted two Russian bombers flying unusually close to an American aircraft carrier in the western Pacific during the weekend, The Associated Press has learned.

A U.S. military official says that one Russian Tupolev 95 buzzed the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz twice, at a low altitude of about 2,000 feet, while another bomber circled about 50 nautical miles out. The official was speaking on condition of anonymity because the reports on the flights were classified as secret.

The Saturday incident, which never escalated beyond the flyover, comes amid heightened tensions between the United States and Russia over U.S. plans for a missile defense system based in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Such Russian bomber flights were common during the Cold War, but have been rare since.

The bombers were among four Russian Tupolev 95s launched from Ukrainka in the middle of the night, including one that Japanese officials say violated their country’s airspace over an uninhabited island south of Tokyo.

U.S. officials tracked and monitored the bombers as two flew south along the Japanese coast, and two others flew farther east, coming closer to the Nimitz and the guided missile cruiser USS Princeton.

As the bombers got about 500 miles out from the U.S. ships, four F/A-18 fighters were launched from the Nimitz, the official said. The fighters intercepted the Russian bombers about 50 miles south of the Nimitz.

At least two U.S. fighters trailed the bomber as it came in low over the Nimitz twice, while one or two of the other U.S. fighters followed the second bomber as it circled.

This clear provocation came after Russia threatened Ukraine with nuclear annihilation if they cooperated with the U.S. or joined NATO:

Russia has said it may target its missiles at Ukraine if its neighbor joins Nato and accepts the deployment of the US missile defense shield.

Russian President Vladimir Putin made the comments in Moscow alongside Ukraine’s President, Viktor Yushchenko.

Mr Putin has condemned US plans to include Poland and the Czech Republic in its missile defence shield.

The leaders had been meeting in urgent talks over a gas dispute and announced a deal to avoid disrupting supplies.

[...]

Speaking at a news conference at the Kremlin on Tuesday, Mr Putin said he had advised Ukraine not to join Nato, but admitted he would be unable to interfere in any such move.

“Restrictions on sovereignty… have already had certain consequences, such as the stationing of bases or a positioning area for missile defence in Eastern Europe, which we believe is aimed at neutralizing our nuclear missile potential,” he said.

“Russia therefore faces a need to take retaliatory action.”

The US wants the shield to destroy incoming ballistic missiles potentially coming from North Korea and Iran.

Current plans would see some interceptor missiles based in Poland and an associated radar built in the Czech Republic.

“It is frightening not only to say but even to think that Russia, in response to the emergence of such positioning areas on Ukrainian territory, which cannot be ruled out in theory, will target its offensive missile systems at Ukraine,” he said.

“Can you imagine that for a second? That is what we are concerned about.”

Yeah I can imagine that. As can the thousands of people who lived through the Cold War. We are seeing a resurgent Russia led by an old school Soviet unconstrained by American power, which is seen as non-existent thanks to an “anti-war” movement that has successfully projected an image of weakness and decadence to our enemies world wide.

Meanwhile we can’t even trust our own Pentagon officials to not pass information to our enemies.

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