Press TV has conducted an interview with Scott Rickard, a former American intelligence linguist, about the Russian Defense Ministry saying it has scrambled SU-27 fighter jets to intercept US surveillance planes attempting to approach the Russian border over the Black Sea.
Here is a rough transcription of the interview:
Press TV: What are the dangers of these close calls between the US and Russia during a time that is, when the world doesn’t really need another war or conflict?
Rickard: Well these kinds of actions have been going on for decades. The Russians constantly would fly next to American reconnaissance aircraft always within quite close proximity, a lot of times even doing barrel rolls and getting up underneath the aircraft and hitting their afterburners, these kinds of incidents are not uncommon.
Now what is uncommon is you have the Americans who are continually probing not only the Russians territories but also China, Iran unfortunately and many other countries around the world with this “reconnaissance aircraft.”
Now this particular aircraft in question – the P-8 - now let’s be clear here, this is not a reconnaissance aircraft. It has anti-ship missiles, it has anti-submarine torpedo capability that it just tremendously outflanks most of the equipment that any other country in the world has, and the fact that they are flying without transponders on and teasing the Russians as they fly towards the Russian border, the Russians are actually showing quite a bit of patience and they are certainly protecting their sovereignty and their land.
Certainly we do not see Russians flying warplanes, not reconnaissance planes, but warplanes, planes equipped with this kind of armament right up to the American border because there will be a lot of noise and certainly the Iranians are not doing that as well.
Press TV: If Moscow was just miles off the US coast ghosting US military exercises with similar aircraft, how would Washington respond to that?
Rickard: Well I will tell you, every news agency in the country would be covering it, they will be making big news out of this and they certainly would not be putting it in the point that the Americans were doing something wrong protecting their borders.
In fact what is interesting here is that the Russians are doing nothing wrong, in fact they have been extremely patient not just in recent times but through just decades upon decades.
The Chinese have had to deal with it, look at what happened on Hainan Island when they shot down the predecessor to the EP-3E. It was actually a truly Signals Intelligence Reconnaissance Aircraft – they did not really shoot it down, excuse me - there was a collision back then and that was about 15 years ago and it is indicative the Americans have been obviously flying very close if not within Chinese airspace and unfortunately in that incident there was an accident where oddly enough the pilot’s name was Wang Wei which in English sounds like “wrong way” accidentally ran into the EP-3 and in this case the Russian pilots, these are highly skilled pilots, these are fighter pilots, they are some of the best pilots in the world just like the American pilots and these pilots are extremely skilled in what they are doing and there was absolutely no danger to the P-8 aircraft.
So I believe what we see here is a true hypocrisy. This aircraft, if this kind of armament was being flown along the American borders, there will be a massive uprising in not only the media, the government and the people.