Apr 17, 2021 05:27 UTC
  • British spy jet deployed to Black Sea amid tensions with Russia

A British spy aircraft has been dispatched to the Black Sea region to monitor Russian forces on the Ukrainian border, amid simmering tensions between Western countries and Russia over the Ukrainian conflict.

The so-called Airseeker was deployed by the Royal Air Force (RAF) to the region to gather intelligence, although the RAF claimed that it had made the aircraft visible on commercial tracking services.

The development came only days after the British RC-135 Rivet Joint was deployed on a similar mission along the Ukrainian border.

Earlier, on Monday, UK and US surveillance aircraft ramped up operations in alleged reaction to Russian military movements along Ukraine’s eastern border.

Warning of more deployments in the Black Sea, US Air Force General Tod Wolters told a US House Armed Services Committee that the UK and the US needed more naval destroyers and air force strike fighters to both “deter and monitor” Russia in the Black Sea region and near Ukraine.

Ukrainian government troops have been fighting ethnic Russians in the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine since 2014. A shaky ceasefire has been in place since July 2020.

Kiev and Western governments accuse Moscow of having a hand in the conflict, a charge that Moscow strongly denies.

Most recently, the United States and NATO have accused Russia of amassing military forces near the Ukrainian border and have dispatched military personnel and equipment to Ukraine, which is not a NATO member.

Russia says it is using its own territory for defensive activity amid increased NATO presence near Russian borders.

Meanwhile, the UK on Thursday summoned the Russian ambassador to London to convey concerns about “malign activity” by Russia. In a statement, the UK Foreign Office also called Russia “the most acute threat” to the UK.

MG

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