The Kiev-based Ukrainian Independent Information Agency reported on Wednesday the United States has increased its troop presence along the Russian border.
A Pentagon statement was issued in response to an accusation made by the Russian National Center for Control of Defense that NATO and U.S. Air Force flights have violated Russian airspace.
Russians Say NATO Violates Airspace
According to Lieutenant-General Mikhail Mizintsev, head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s joint military command center, Russian fighters flew over 300 missions in response to NATO aircraft.
He said the number of NATO tactical flights close to the Russian and Belarusian borders has doubled to 3,000 this year.
“All achievements in the field of trust-building and voluntary transparency that NATO and Russia have formed over the years have ceased,” Mizintsev said, noting “any mutual exchange of information.”
The Russians have also stepped up flights. On December 15, Sweden and Denmark summoned Russia’s ambassadors after an incident in which a passenger plane leaving Copenhagen changed direction to avoid a collision with a Russian fighter jet.
The Russians say the jet was 70 kilometers away from the Danish flight. “There were no conditions for an aviation incident connected to the flight on Friday December 12 of a Russian military plane in the international airspace over the Baltic Sea,” defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told TASS news agency.
Pentagon Says Increased Troops a Response to Russian Invasion of Ukraine
“The current efforts of the U.S. European Command as a part of the Atlantic Resolve operation are a demonstration of our commitment to the collective security of NATO, and long-term peace and stability in the region, particularly in light of the Russian invasion in Ukraine,” a Pentagon spokesman said in regard to the increased troop presence along Russia’s borders.
“At the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the United States took immediate steps to show solidarity with its NATO allies,” he said.
“In particular, we have increased our air, ground and naval presence in the region. We have also expanded and extended previously planned exercises.”
“We are united in our efforts and challenges, and we continue to call on Russia to end its destabilizing actions in the east of Ukraine, to end the occupation and annexation of the Crimea, and to respect the Minsk agreements.”