Putin fumes as RAF 'threatens to violate Russian airspace' in 'deliberate provocation'


Russia’s Defence Ministry warned the UK against a an alleged spy plane flight over Russian territory. It said the Russian air force had been tasked with preventing any violations of the country’s airspace. The defence ministry claimed Britain had issued a notice about a planned flight of an RC-135 reconnaissance plane along a route that partly passes over Russian territory.

It warned the alleged move from the UK was a “deliberate provocation”.

A UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) source has denied Britain had asked permission to fly a spy plane over Russia.

But the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement: “We regard this action as a deliberate provocation”, while adding the country’s air force has been “given the task to prevent the violation of the Russian border.”

It added: “All possible consequences of this deliberate provocation will lie entirely with the British side.

The ministry did not outline when and where the British flight was planned.

The Russian Defence Ministry has also said a one of its MiG-31 fighter jets was scrambled to intercept a British RC-135 spy plane on Monday.

It claimed the UK aircraft had crossed its border near the Syvatoi Nose cape between the Barents and the White Seas.

The Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement: “MiG-31BM interceptor on duty with the border air patrol identified the aircraft and compelled it to stop its violation of Russian airspace.”

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Britain budgeted £634 million on three KC-135R aircraft which were converted into the a trio of RC-135Ws that entered service in 2014.

The spy plane is a massive 135ft in length and is an electronic surveillance aircraft that can be employed in all scenarios on strategic and tactical missions.

It can reach eye-watering top speeds of 541mph, has a range of around 3,900 miles and can weigh in at more than 133,000kg.

The plane’s sensors have the ability to “soak up” electronic emissions from communications, radar and other systems, according to the RAF.

RC-135W Rivet Joint employs a weapons system officer and weapons system operator specialists whose mission is to scour the electromagnetic spectrum to pick up intelligence for military commanders.

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