Recent reports indicate that Russian troops in Syria have been growing confrontational towards the US and its allies, escalating tensions between the two nations.
According to Col. Joe Buccino, Russian pilots are engaging in provocative behavior to “draw us into an international incident” or provoke the US into war. He added that they are not trying to shoot down US jets.
This is not the first time Russian pilots have been accused of provocative behaviour towards the US in the skies above Syria. A video captured on April 2 showed a Russian SU-35 fighter jet conducting an “unsafe and unprofessional” intercept of a US F-16 fighter jet. Similarly, on April 18, another Russian fighter jet violated coalition airspace and came within 2,000 feet of a US aircraft.
In response to these hostile actions, Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich stated that the US has been trying to de-escalate tensions between the two countries and act professionally. Grynkewich has warned of aggressive manoeuvres by Russian forces in Syria for months. Despite this, the Pentagon has continued to launch airstrikes and raids into the region to contain the Islamic State group inside Syria.
The term ‘dogfighting’ refers to engaging in aerial combat, often at close range. Russian pilots have reportedly been engaging in this behaviour repeatedly, provoking US pilots in mid-air. While they have not attempted to shoot down US jets, their actions have been described as attempts to draw the US into a confrontation.
The situation has caused concern among US officials, as Russian forces continue to manoeuvre aggressively against US forces in Syria. In addition to violating airspace protocols, they are coming dangerously close to US aircraft. These actions have led to fears of an international incident, with tensions between the US and Russia escalating rapidly.
Earlier this week, Russia warned President Joe Biden that the possibility of nuclear war is “steadily increasing” after reports suggested the US would cease exchanging certain information about its nuclear forces with Russia. This warning has only added to the already tense situation between the two nations. As both countries continue to flex their military might in Syria, the world watches with bated breath to see what will happen next.
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