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World War III Risk Rising? Russia Threatens to Shoot Down French Aircraft Over Black Sea: Report

Russia Threatened to Shoot Down French Aircraft Over Black Sea
Source: MEGA

Russia threatened to shoot down a French AWACS aircraft, France's defense minister said.

Feb. 25 2024, Published 11:00 a.m. ET

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France's defense minister revealed that Russia had issued threats to shoot down French aircraft patrolling in international airspace above the Black Sea.

Sébastien Lecornu expressed concerns over what he described as Russia's return to aggressive behavior reminiscent of the Cold War era, suggesting a departure from previous norms.

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He highlighted an incident from mid-November where a Russian air traffic control system confronted a French aircraft patrolling in a free international zone, according to ABC News.

Lecornu emphasized that the current behavior of Russia, particularly this year, is markedly different from previous years and is attributed to Russia's challenges in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

French military spokesman Col. Pierre Gaudillière corroborated the incident, describing it as unprecedented for the region. The encounter involved a particularly aggressive radio exchange between the French AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft and Russian authorities.

French patrols in the eastern flank of NATO have intensified since Russia's invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago. The AWACS aircraft play a crucial role in conducting surveillance across the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

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These patrols are aimed at monitoring missile launches, airborne activities and other military movements related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The recent incident is not an isolated case of Russian aggression against NATO nations.

Earlier reports indicated that Russia intercepted a British-made drone, claiming to have neutralized its warhead and preventing a potential terrorist attack. The incident raised concerns about the security implications and the potential for escalation in the region.

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Denis Pushilin, the appointed head of the occupied Donetsk region of Ukraine, accused Western actors of attempting to orchestrate a terrorist attack to blame Russia.

He claimed that coordinated efforts by Russian special services thwarted the alleged plot, emphasizing the need for vigilance amidst escalating tensions in the region.

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