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Russia scrambles its fighter jets as US nuclear bombers patrol over Baltic states 

Washington: US bombers patrolled the Baltic region near the Russian border just 24 hours after it announced sanctions against Russia over the Navalny case. The US Air Force said that the B-1 nuclear bombers had flown across the Baltic border between Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on Wednesday. The bomber patrol is believed a part of the US strategy to counter Russia and bolster the European nations. 

The United States decided to deploy B-1 bombers at Norway’s airbase to counter Russia’s growing military presence and aggressive moves in the Arctic. US President Joe Biden had issued the order for the deployment. In February, four US B-1 nuclear bombers landed at the Orland base in Norway. Along with the bombers, a contingent of 200 US troops has also been deployed in Norway. For the first time, the US has deployed bombers and soldiers in Norway. 

The bombers that flew over the Baltic states had been sent from the Norway base. General Jeffrey Harrigian, a senior US Air Force official in Europe, said as he informed about the Baltic mission that ‘The US will never break its commitment to NATO allies. The mission in the Baltic countries is a clear message in that regard. The United States stands in solidarity with NATO allies in Europe.’ 

Russia was found to have also sent its fighter jets to the Baltic region to keep a watch on the US nuclear bombers. On Wednesday, Russia sent its Sukhoi Su-27 fighter to the Baltic Sea. Russia’s National Defense Management Center (NDMC) said Russian fighter jets returned after US bombers were safely escorted away from the Russian border. However, Russia revealed that the US bombers did not enter its territory. 

Former US President Donald Trump had adopted an ‘America First’ policy and taken an aggressive stance against China, Iran, European countries and allies. At the same time, Trump’s closeness to Russian President Vladimir Putin had been the subject of controversy. Biden, however, warned that his administration’s Russia’s policy would not be as soft as that of the previous president and that he would adopt an aggressive stance. The strict sanctions imposed on Russia as even the bombers sent near the Russian border, in the last 48 hours, are part of the new Russia policy. 

In recent years, Russia has significantly stepped up the number of military bases and deployments in the Arctic. The growing presence of Russian fighter jets and submarines in the region has been a source of concern for European countries. Therefore, Biden has hinted at an aggressive policy as he begins targeting Russia. 

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