U.S. General: Russia Buzzing California Coastline - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

U.S. General: Russia Buzzing California Coastline

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FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) - The General in charge of the U.S. air forces in the Pacific say Russia has increased its air activity over the Pacific Ocean since the start of the Ukraine crisis, including flights near the California coast and the U.S. Pacific island of Guam.

General Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle said the number of long-range Russian patrols around the Japanese islands and Korea had also increased "drastically" and there had been "a lot more ship activity as well".

General Carlisle says, "We relate a lot of that to what's going on in the Ukraine."

The General made the comments at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

Carlisle showed a slide of a U.S. F-15 fighter jet intercepting a Russian "Bear" aircraft, the Cold War NATO name for Russia's Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bomber, over Guam.

"Certainly what's going on in Ukraine and Crimea is a challenge for us and it's a challenge for us in Asia Pacific as well as Europe," Carlisle said.

Carlisle said Russian flights in the area were aimed "to demonstrate their capability to do it" and to gather intelligence, adding that the surveillance had included observation of military exercises involving U.S. forces in South Korea and Japan.

"There are things that are concerning with respect to how they operate and how transparent they are with other nations in the vicinity," he said of Russia.

Carlisle gave no details of the incidents and the Defense Department and the U.S. Air Force and Navy in the Pacific did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

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