Congress Warns Russia
Over ‘Provocative’ Military Action Against U.S. Forces

Russian intercepts of U.S. military craft sparks anger on Capitol Hill

Russia plane
Participants perform at the Kuban AirShow International private aviation festival held at the Belevtsy airfield in the Krasnodar Region of Russia / AP
June 21, 2016

A bipartisan delegation of leading senators is spearheading an effort to hold Russia accountable for a recent series of provocative military action against U.S. forces stationed across the globe, according to a new congressional measure that demands Moscow cease the "dangerous and unprofessional" activity targeting American forces.

The Russian air force has become increasingly aggressive against the United States in recent months, culminating in an April incident in which a Russian military plane performed a dangerous barrel roll over an American reconnaissance plane, coming within 100 feet of the U.S. plane.

This and similar activity by Russian forces has angered U.S. officials and prompted the lawmakers on Tuesday to take steps aimed at halting Russia’s "dangerous and unprofessional intercepts" of U.S. forces, according to a copy of the new measure.

The resolution—backed by Senate Foreign Relations Committee members David Perdue (R., Ga.), Cory Gardner (R., Colo.), Ron Johnson (R., Wis.), Bob Menendez (D., N.J.), and Jim Risch (R., Idaho)—calls on Russia to stop endangering U.S. forces and makes clear that the United States has a right to operate in all international waters and airspace.

"Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has become increasingly assertive and aggressive militarily," Perdue said in a statement provided to the Washington Free Beacon. "We’ve recently seen Russian military personnel taunting U.S. military units with provocative military maneuvers."

"Not only are these actions irresponsible, they endanger the lives of American and Russian soldiers alike and fly in the face of decades-long agreements between our two nations," Perdue said. "Further, Russia continues to build up its military and cyber capabilities, and poses direct challenges to stated U.S. interests. Today, we come together to condemn Russia’s provocative and antagonistic behavior."

The resolution seeks to move the international community to pressure Moscow over its behavior in addition to condemning Russia’s military moves.

Russia has shown no signs that it will stop endangering U.S. forces.

A Russian warplane in the Baltic Sea flew within 50 feet of a U.S. craft during another April incident, prompting the Pentagon to condemn the incident as "erratic and aggressive."

Russia also continues to pursue a massive military buildup in strategic locations, such as the Black Sea, eastern Mediterranean Sea, Syria, and the Arctic.

This action is meant to "deny United States access to key areas of Eurasia and often pose direct challenges to stated United States interests," according to the new congressional measure.

This action coincides with a buildup of cyber capabilities that has given Moscow the ability to wage "crippling cyber attacks on the electric grid and other critical infrastructures of the United States," according to the Senate resolution.

Meanwhile, the United States has determined that Russia continues to violate a treaty governing intermediate and short-range ballistic missiles, known as the INF Treaty.

Published under: Russia