There has been much coverage given to Russian jets flying close to UK airspace and over the Baltic Sea alarming Poland, Sweden and the three Baltic states. Little however is said about NATO actions close to Russia's border. Russia Today may not be an unbiased news gather but an article by Russia's former ambassador to Britain Alexander Yakovenko tells us that possibly NATO is not blameless in escalating tensions. He writes that:
strategic bombers do regularly fly to remote geographical areas and will continue to do so......Flights of Russian military aircraft are almost always accompanied by jets from NATO countries and their partners. This is standard procedure, and the level of public concern regarding the latest incidents involving Russian aircraft in the vicinity of British airspace have been blown vastly out of proportion.
He also claims that the activities of NATO reconnaissance planes over Baltic and Barents Seas close to the borders of Russia have "increased significantly" and
Spy planes from Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Portugal.........regularly monitor the activities of the Russian armed forces in the Kaliningrad Region and over the Baltic Sea. The picture is similar in the Black Sea area: AWACS aircraft are actively used from air force bases in Germany, Turkey and Greece, and sometimes even from the UK and France.
He asks if these actions are to "ensure high military spending" (the UK defence budget maybe cut over the next few years) or are "laying the grounds for some aggressive actions against Russian interests."
It has got to the stage where both sides are almost saying the same thing, Poland's defence minister Tomasz Siemoniak says Russia's actions "doesn't help to build good relations and trust" Yakovenko also says that "The growing disparity between the actual situation and the official rhetoric of some Western leaders is not helpful for restoring trust"
It is also worth listening to Noam Chomsky who says that as the Berlin wall fell and governments in eastern Europe began to collapse in 1989-90 Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev agreed with the US government, led by George Bush, that Germany could become a member of NATO so long as NATO did not move “one inch to the east”. NATO however did move further east, when Gorbachev complained he was told it was not a written undertaking but just a verbal agreement. NATO has now expanded right up to the Russian border.