Russia hands note of protest to US warning of consequences of US, NATO provocations

“The military activity of the United States and NATO member states along the perimeter of Russia’s border, including flights by combat aircraft and dangerous maneuvers by naval ships, continues to spiral upwards. The US military and its NATO allies have switched from attempts to test the system of our border protection to provocations against civilian aircraft, jeopardizing airspace safety and human lives. In connection with these provocative actions, the US embassy in Moscow was handed a note of protest on Wednesday, which warns of the dangerous consequences of such recklessness,” Zakharova said in a statement posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.

The statement says that by retaining the right to respond in kind to the challenges from the United States and the US-led NATO members, Moscow calls for an in-depth dialogue on security guarantees and on ways to lower military and political tensions, including options to prevent collisions in the air and at sea.

“Otherwise, we will deploy all the means at our disposal to prevent and remove the emerging threats,” the diplomat said.

Zakharova pointed out that the unacceptable and dangerous activity of NATO aircraft, when warplanes belonging to the US and its allies conduct flights without radio communication, without providing flight plans to or obtaining permission from air traffic controllers, poses severe risks to the safety of civil flights.

“This violates the fundamental principles of international air navigation in accordance with the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, as well as other requirements of international law,” she stated.

Zakharova pointed out that the protest handed to the US enumerated recent incidents, “which have not led to a tragedy only by a lucky chance and thanks to the prompt reaction by Russian pilots and air traffic controllers.”

In particular, the note of protest refers to the incidents of October 6 and 13, as well as of December 3, when US military aircraft came dangerously close to civil flights.

“It became possible to prevent the collision purely thanks to the professionalism and level-headedness of our air services that gave a timely order to change the echelon to pilots of the Aeroflot flight whose path was being crossed by the already mentioned reconnaissance aircraft,” the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson added.