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Putin Dares America, Sends Jets To US

Vladimir Putin is probably the most arrogant leader in the world quite an accomplishment given that most world leaders fall into the extremely arrogant category.

Putin is ruthless and calculated. He leaves no move left to chance, and no act is without purpose. Spontaneity is not a part of the Putin gestalt. His actions speak as loudly as his words.

Russian aircrafts have taken to skirting close to U.S. airspace. It has become a game Putin enjoys.

In the most recent round of this game, four Russian planes flew very close to Alaska. Two of the planes were TU-95 Bear Bombers, planes so slow moving that they are considered dinosaurs in the aeronautics world, but they are still capable of carrying nuclear weapons. These old planes, however, were escorted by two brand new SU-35s, considered to be top-of-the-line Russian airpower. The planes are so new and so special that this was the first time the U.S. saw an SU-35 up close.

The U.S. sent two F-22 stealth jet fighters to escort the Russians away. It all took place about 50 miles from Alaska.

This is just the latest in a slew of similar Russian acts of arrogance, taunting and gaming.

Several weeks ago, for example, two of Russia’s TU-95 Bear Bombers, escorted by Russian IL-38 patrol planes, flew dangerously close to the U.S. and Canada. There were four separate Russian advances toward the U.S. in two days. In each case, like the most recent case, the U.S. responded by scrambling F-22 fighter jets. When the Russians came close to Canada, they were joined, and escorted away, by Canadian CF-18 Hornets.
A Russian Sukhoi SU-35S fighter performs outside Moscow on August 25, 2015. KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

Again, the Russian planes flew too closely and were escorted away without harm or incident. The Russians claim that their planes were close but still in international space. The U.S. concedes that the Russians never actually entered their space, but yes, they were very close.

According to an official statement issued by the Russian Defense Ministry, Russia “regularly carries out patrol missions above the neutral waters of the Arctic, the Atlantic, the Black Sea and the Pacific Ocean.”  They also claim that, “All such missions are carried out in strict compliance with international regulations and with respect to national borders.”

Bear bombers are slow, cumbersome, huge planes. IL-38 planes are also very slow moving. They are the antithesis of the fighter jets the U.S. sent intercept and escort the Russians away from U.S. airspace.

That gives us one clue that, for Putin, this is just a game. If the Russians were interested in serious warfare, they would have sent fighter jets. A second clue is that the Russians engaged in this game a total of five times.

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