NewsRussian forces threaten to shoot down French NATO plane over Black Sea, says Defense Minister

Russian forces threaten to shoot down French NATO plane over Black Sea, says Defense Minister

The French Defense Minister revealed that the Russians wanted to shoot down a French observation plane (illustrative photo from the AWAC pilot's cockpit).
The French Defense Minister revealed that the Russians wanted to shoot down a French observation plane (illustrative photo from the AWAC pilot's cockpit).
Images source: © Anadolu Agency via Getty Images | Anadolu Agency
3:50 AM EST, February 23, 2024

Military spokesman Colonel Pierre Gaudilliere revealed that this dangerous incident occurred in mid-November.

The Russian air traffic control system reportedly threatened to shoot down one of the four patrolling Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) observational aircraft over the Black Sea. As confirmed by French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu, the plane was in international airspace at that time.

AWACS aircraft have been patrolling near the Black Sea since the onset of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. They can detect missile launches, aerial bombings, and other military activities.

According to Lecornu, this situation was unprecedented for the French aviators stationed in this region. The incredibly aggressive behavior exhibited by the Russians was reminiscent of Cold War times.

The Minister's claims are corroborated by a spokesperson for the French army who said:

The Russians threatened the crew during a radio exchange. The interaction was notably aggressive - they emphasized

ABC News reports that two other officials also disclosed that the radio conversation was in English. The Russian side made it explicitly clear to the French that their forces plan to destroy the patrolling plane.

Aggressive reactions from the Russians to NATO forces patrolling near their borders are not uncommon. Reuters recalls similar incidents, like the launch of a missile near a British observational aircraft, RC-135 Rivet Joint, which, like the French AWACS, was over the Black Sea in international airspace.

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