WASHINGTON, DC – This past Sunday, ABC News’ Martha Raddatz discussed Russia’s latest example of military aggression. On Saturday, December 13, a Russian military jet nearly collided with a Scandinavian Airlines passenger plane, due to the former’s transponder being turned off, which masked its heading, altitude, and airspeed to air traffic controllers. Russia is denying this, and several other documented incidents despite evidence that includes video taken by NATO interceptors flying alongside Russian military jets over the Baltic Sea last week.
By creating tension in the Baltics…he deflects public opinion up towards that part of the world, he pins down NATO air forces up in the Baltics, while he continues to build his greater Russia (and) build that land bridge to Crimea in the Ukraine.” –Stephen GanyardWhen asked why Mr. Putin has continuously flown sorties over NATO territory in Europe during the past months, Avascent’s Col. Steve Ganyard (USMC, Ret.) explained that Russia’s president is playing a game of “we can. It’s the same number of sorties we really saw during the Cold War and so you’ve got to launch airplanes out of NATO bases to go up take a look at these airplanes, ID them, escort them…we saw terrific video of that.”
Russia’s economy is dependent on oil, and the combination of tumbling oil prices and sanctions have devalued the ruble by 40%. Ganyard noted that the subsequent, inevitable recession might provoke Putin to create an incident that would increase the price of oil—and that the Baltics would be a strategic place for any such incident to take place. Ganyard’s analysis beings just after the 3 minute mark.