Russia playing ‘dangerous game’ with bomber flights: US

August 19th, 2008 - 4:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 19 (RIA Novosti) The US has strongly criticised Russia’s strategic bomber patrols along the US coasts.US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday the Bush administration was unhappy with flights by Russian strategic bombers near US borders and accused Moscow of playing a “dangerous game”.

Condemning Russia’s Tu-95 Bear bombers’ flights, Rice said: “We’ve had Russian Bear flights along the Norwegian coast…even along the borders with the US which…is a very dangerous game, and perhaps one the Russians want to reconsider.”

“Nobody needs Russian strategic aviation along America’s coasts,” she added.

Rice made the comments as she left for an emergency session of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels, which is due to meet Tuesday to consider relations with Moscow following a cessation in hostilities between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia.

The emergency meeting was called last week by Washington, which accused Russia of a “disproportionate” response after Georgia launched a military offensive against South Ossetia Aug 8.

The main goal of the meeting of the 26-member alliance was to deny Russia its “strategic objective” by backing Georgian democracy, Rice said.

She also accused Russia of trying to assert its influence in the region “by military means”.

Moscow harmed “its own reputation” with its response to the Georgian attack, Rice added.

Russia resumed strategic bomber patrols, often escorted by NATO planes, over the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans August 2007 following an order signed by then-president Vladimir Putin.

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