Defense Ministry ridicules U.S. claim that Russian flights in Pacific are linked to Ukraine

"Linking Russian warplanes' scheduled flights in the eastern sector of the Pacific Ocean to the situation in Ukraine can only attest to the poor knowledge of geography for the simple reason that these regions are located in different hemispheres. As the Ukrainian proverb goes, 'It's neither here where the elderberry is, nor in Kiev where the uncle lives," a highly placed Defense Ministry official told Interfax-AVN on Tuesday.

The Russian Defense Ministry commented on Tuesday on Commander of the U.S. Pacific Air Forces Herbert Carlyle's statement alleging that Russian long-range warplanes' heightened activity in the air space over the Pacific Ocean is connected with the developments in Ukraine.

"Linking Russian warplanes' scheduled flights in the eastern sector of the Pacific Ocean to the situation in Ukraine can only attest to the poor knowledge of geography for the simple reason that these regions are located in different hemispheres. As the Ukrainian proverb goes, 'It's neither here where the elderberry is, nor in Kiev where the uncle lives," a highly placed Defense Ministry official told Interfax-AVN on Tuesday.

The Defense Ministry official also said that, "General Carlyle's public statements alleging that Russian long-range aircraft have intensified flights in connection with the developments in Ukraine aroused surprise in the Russian Defense Ministry."

"The United States borders on Russia along the Bering Strait. Therefore, seeing Russian warplanes' flights over the neutral waters of the Pacific Ocean as a challenge to the United States is strange to say the least. The more so since the intensity of U.S. intelligence planes' flights in the vicinity of Russia's eastern borders has never abated since the end of the Cold War," he said.

"It's time to stop laying one's own fault at somebody else's door," he said.

"If you are head over ears in the Ukrainian crisis, there is no use trying to look for those guilty for the events in Ukraine elsewhere. All problems pertaining to international security can only be settled in a dialogue," the Russian military official said.

Carlyle earlier said that Russian warplanes have been appearing more frequently in the Asia-Pacific region since a crisis broke out in Ukraine.

Speaking at the Washington Center for Strategic and International Studies he said that Russian aviation has significantly intensified its activity in this region.

Russian warplanes, including Tupolev TU-95 strategic bombers, approached the coast of California and Guam, the U.S. general said.

He said the U.S. military mostly links this to what is going on in Ukraine.

The goal of the Russian Air Force's intensified activity in the Pacific region is to demonstrate its capabilities and to gather intelligence, he said.

Their mode of operations and the extent of their openness with regards to the neighboring countries arouse concern, Carlyle said.

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