Russia is increasingly ‘assertive and aggressive’, says Dutch defence minister
Russia is acting in an increasingly ‘assertive and aggressive way’ which is starting to become irritating, defence minster Jeanine Hennis said on Friday.
The minister was reacting to an incident on Thursday in which Dutch F-16 fighter jets intercepted a Russian transport aircraft in Estonian and Lithuanian airspace without making a flight plan, broadcaster Nos reports.
The Netherlands has had five F-16s stationed in Poland since the beginning of September and this is the first time they have been called into action.
The planes are stationed there as part of a Nato mission to monitor airspace in the region.
Russian president Vladimir Putin is showing off Russia’s economic, political and military superiority, Hennis said, referring to its ‘destabilising performance in eastern Ukraine’.
Russia is increasingly active in northwest European waters and airspace, she said. ‘I don’t think we are being threatened territorially but it is irritating and unnecessary,’ she said.