Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rice says Russia playing 'dangerous game' with bomber flights

WASHINGTON, August 19 (RIA Novosti) - Condoleezza Rice has said the Bush administration is unhappy with flights by Russian strategic bombers near U.S. borders and accused Moscow of playing a "dangerous game."

Talking about flights by Tu-95 Bear bombers, the U.S. secretary of state told journalists Monday: "We've had Russian Bear flights along the Norwegian coast...even along the borders with the United States which...is a very dangerous game, and perhaps one the Russians want to reconsider."

"Nobody needs Russian strategic aviation along America's coasts," she added.

Rice made the comments as she left for an emergency session of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels, which is due to meet Tuesday to consider relations with Moscow following a cessation in hostilities between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia.

The emergency meeting was called last week by Washington, which accused Russia of a "disproportionate" response after Georgia launched a military offensive against South Ossetia August 8 to try and regain control over the breakaway region, prompting Russia to send several hundred tanks and thousands of troops into the region.

Rice said the main goal of the meeting of the 26-member alliance was to deny Russia its "strategic objective" by backing Georgian democracy.

She also accused Russia of trying to assert its influence in the region "by military means." She added that Moscow had harmed "its own reputation" with its response to the Georgian attack.

Russia resumed strategic bomber patrols, often escorted by NATO planes, over the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans last August following an order signed by then-president Vladimir Putin.


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