News Briefs – June 10, 2016


Pilot of elite Russian aerobatic squadron killed in crash

A pilot of the Russian air force’s elite aerobatic squadron died June 9 when his fighter jet crashed near Moscow.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the Su-27 fighter jet went down while returning from a training mission. It said, according to preliminary information, the crash had been caused by a technical malfunction, but wouldn’t elaborate pending an official probe.
The Russian Knights aerobatic squadron identified the pilot on its Facebook page as Maj. Sergei Yeremenko.
Russian TV stations broadcast images of the wreckage scattered around a forest and a plume of black smoke rising over the trees.
According to news reports, the plane crashed while returning to its base in Kubinka, west of Moscow, after a group demonstration flight marking the opening of a monument to airmen near Moscow. The Interfax news agency said the plane that crashed had recently undergone factory repairs. Emergency crews have already have recovered the plane’s flight recorder.
The Russian Knights are famous for their spectacular low passes and synchronized maneuvers. They perform widely at air shows in Russia and abroad. AP

Swiss fighter jet crashes in Netherlands, pilot survives

A Swiss fighter jet has crashed in the Netherlands during training exercises for an airshow but the pilot ejected to safety.
A Swiss Defense Ministry spokeswoman, Karin Suini, said June 9 that the plane was a Northrop F-5 Tiger.
The Friesland regional fire department in the northern Netherlands said that the jet crashed into a lake near the town of Bitgum.
There were no reports of injuries.
The F-5 Tiger is often used for stunt and formation flying. The jet that crashed had been due to take part in an airshow in Leeuwarden this weekend. AP

China warship off disputed islands, Japan protests to China

Japan protested to China June 9 after spotting a Chinese warship near disputed islands in the East China Sea.
Japanese officials said a Chinese navy frigate was seen off the coast of the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands, also claimed by China and called the Diaoyu islands. The ship did not violate Japan’s territorial waters.
While Chinese coast guard vessels routinely patrol the area, it was the first time a Chinese warship was spotted, officials said.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga criticized Beijing for escalating regional tension.
“Japan is extremely concerned about the action that unilaterally escalates tension in the area,” Suga said.
The territorial dispute often harms bilateral relations already troubled by wartime history.
Japan is also investigating the presence of three Russian warships in the area about the same time. Suga said officials are analyzing whether the two incidents were coordinated.
Deputy Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki summoned Chinese Ambassador Cheng Yonghua to the ministry to deliver a protest.
Defense Minister Gen Nakatani, in Singapore to attend an annual international security conference, told NHK national television that the move by Beijing to dispatch a naval ship may just be China’s way of stressing its resolve over its territorial claims amid widening international concern over its activities in the South China Sea. AP

Russia proposes mechanism to prevent U.S. sea confrontations

Russia’s Defense Ministry says it has presented a proposal to the United States on developing a mechanism for preventing confrontations on the open sea and airspace above it.
The June 8 statement, reported by the news agency Interfax, comes in the wake of several tense incidents in recent months. In April, a Russian jet flew about 15 meters (50 feet) from the wing tip of a U.S. aircraft and two Russian jets flew close to the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea. The Pentagon also said a Russian fighter plane conducted a barrel roll over a reconnaissance plane flying above the Baltic Sea.
The ministry said that during consultations with the U.S. on Wednesday, “the Russian side submitted proposals to develop a mechanism to prevent incidents,” Interfax reported. AP

Limited ‘Russian activity’ reported at NATO Baltic Sea drill

The commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet says NATO ships are conducting a major naval drill in the Baltic Sea without interference from Russia.
Tensions rose in April when Russian jets buzzed a U.S. destroyer in the Baltic Sea, but U.S. Navy Rear Adm. James G. Foggo III said June 8 that “we’ve not seen a lot of Russian activity” during the exercise that started June 3.
The drill includes naval forces from 15 NATO nations and nonmembers Finland and Sweden. Foggo said a Russian intelligence vessel is “`shadowing” the exercise, but “they’ve acted very professionally and haven’t interfered with our operations.”
Earlier this week, Foggo said the exercise sends “a message to any bad actor who would want to disrupt the economic prosperity and the security” of the region. AP