Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 43

Russian president Boris Yeltsin is concerned over a NATO military exercise in Norway, near Russia’s border, a presidential spokesman said yesterday. (7) The statement echoed complaints made February 26 by a Russian military commander, who charged that the exercises reflect a Cold War mentality and are a threat to Russian national security. Yeltsin’s remark also follows Russian Foreign Ministry protests over what is alleged to be a rapid increase in the number of foreign flights along Russia’s Kaliningrad border. Quoting a Defense Ministry source, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said that 1,758 flights had been registered in 1995 as against 724 the year before. The spokesman signaled out Denmark for criticism, saying that Danish F-16 pilots had simulated attacks near the border, provoking a response from Russian SU-27 aircraft. He warned that continuation of the flights could damage good neighborly relations between the two countries. (8)

Similar complaints were heard in Russia’s Far East, where a senior officer of Russia’s Air Defense forces claimed that more than 400 foreign flights near Russia’s border have been registered over the past two months, and that seven of them had led the Air Defense forces to be put on high alert. (9) While it may be coincidental, Russia’s public protests over foreign flights on its borders came as Moscow lined up behind Cuba in Havana’s face-off with Washington over the recent downing of two U.S. civilian aircraft. (See Monitor, February 27) Cuban authorities had also complained of frequent foreign incursions into Cuban airspace.

Yeltsin Lauds Mild UN Statement on Cuba.