US Air Force official: Russian bomber probes near Europe pose risk to commercial air safety

Associated Press

A senior U.S. Air Force officer says Russian bombers' increasing probes of skies near Europe pose a risk to commercial air safety.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson said Friday that Russian bombers are not following international norms when flying near Britain, the Baltics or Scandinavia. He said Russian bombers that have approached European airspace as tensions have risen in the last year are not filing flight plans, using their transponders or communicating with air traffic controllers.

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Wilson says these practices put civilian flights at risk because many commercial airliners travel through Europe's contested airspace.

There's been a marked increase in the number of Russian bombers approaching European territory and being escorted away since the fighting in Ukraine intensified last year.

Wilson said Russia's motives are unclear and the trend is troubling.