Two Russian planes intercept US Air Force B-52 bomber

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Russian pilots crossed within 100 feet of the B-52’s nose on several occasions and also caused turbulence on the B-52, limiting its ability to maneuver, the statement said.

“Actions like these increase the potential for mid-air collisions, are unnecessary and incompatible with good air control and international flight rules,” said General Jeff Harrigian, Commander of the United States Air Force in Europe and air forces in Africa.

“As the Russian planes evolved in international airspace, they endangered the flight safety of the aircraft involved. We expect them to operate according to international standards established to ensure safety and prevent accidents, ”he said.

American B-52s flew over 30 NATO countries on Friday “to demonstrate NATO solidarity, improve readiness and provide training opportunities aimed at improving interoperability for all participating crews from the states.” United and NATO allies ”, according to a statement from the American European command.

The demonstration of US military capability came amid continuing tensions with Russia and lingering questions about the Trump administration’s engagement in the alliance following a recent move to downsize US troops in Europe.The United States’ commitment to NATO has been called into question following repeated criticisms by President Donald Trump of member countries for failing to meet the alliance’s recommended target of 2% of the Defense GDP.

Trump ordered the Pentagon to drastically reduce the number of American troops in Germany, returning many of them to the United States, a move which Trump said was due to Berlin not spending 2% of its GDP for defense.

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