Close Military Encounters Between Russia and the West in 2014
by Thomas Frear, Łukasz Kulesa & Ian Kearns
A report by the European Leadership Network, “Dangerous Brinksmanship: Close Military Encounters Between Russia and the West in 2014,” states that last year NATO aircraft conducted more than 100 intercepts of Russian aircraft, three times the number of intercepts in 2013. A total of 11 encounters were described as being of a serious and “more aggressive or unusually provocative nature, bringing a higher level risk of escalation.”
“These include harassment of reconnaissance planes, close overflights over warships, and Russian ‘mock bombing raid’ missions,” the report said, noting that the intensity and gravity of the incidents coincided with the Russian annexation of Crimea.
“These events add up to a highly disturbing picture of violations of national airspace, emergency scrambles, narrowly avoided mid-air collisions, close encounters at sea, simulated attack runs, and other dangerous actions happening on a regular basis over a very wide geographical area.”
The report said the Russians appear to be testing NATO and European defenses, as well as using the provocative actions to contribute to an information warfare campaign.
The Russian provocations “serve as a demonstration of Russia’s capability to effectively use force for intimidation and coercion, particularly against its immediate neighbors,” the report said.