President Donald Trump’s failure to effectively stand up to Russia may be coming back to haunt the U.S. On Friday, two Russian planes launched what U.S. authorities described as an “unsafe, unprofessional” interception of a B-52 fighter jet in the U.S. fleet as it was flying through international airspace adjacent to the Black Sea. The Russian planes were temporarily so close to the U.S. aircraft that the jet was experiencing turbulence and was unable to navigate at its ordinary full capability. The U.S. noted that the incident could have put those involved in serious danger.
Check out video of the incident below:
Apparently, the Russian planes made multiple passes within 100 feet of the U.S. plane. Gen. Jeff Harrigian, who’s the commander for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, said:
‘Actions like these increase the potential for midair collisions, are unnecessary, and inconsistent with good airmanship and international flight rules. While the Russian aircraft were operating in international airspace, they jeopardized the safety of flight of the aircraft involved. We expect them to operate within international standards set to ensure safety and prevent accidents.’
The U.S. plane, an official said, “was conducting routine operations in international airspace exercising our freedom of navigation and overflight.” On the same day as the incident, the U.S. led a show of force in which some U.S. B-52s, all of which were equipped to handle nuclear weapons, flew over every single country that is currently in the 30-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), linking up with local aircraft along the way. Two U.S.-based bombers flew over the U.S. and Canada, while four U.S. bombers currently based in the U.K. did flyovers in the other countries.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted on the day of the show of force that with the display, the U.S. supposedly “shows their powerful commitment” to the alliance. CNN noted that the show of force unfolded amidst “lingering questions about the Trump administration’s commitment to the alliance following a recent decision to reduce US troop levels in Europe.” Trump has claimed that his withdrawal of U.S. troops from Europe, who were slated to leave Germany specifically, was because of Germany falling behind a goal of spending 2 percent of its GDP on national defense. An original agreement among NATO members included the stipulation to hit national defense spending that was the equivalent of 2 percent of GDP among the respective member countries by 2024, not by whenever Trump felt like it.