MOSCOW, December 20. /TASS/. Russian air defense units detect about 250 reconnaissance aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles near the country’s southern borders per year, Commander of the Fourth Air and Air Defense Force Major-General Nikolai Gostev told the Russian Armed Forces’ newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda.
"Reconnaissance activities near our southern borders have intensified since March 2014, after Crimea’s reunification with Russia. The average number of reconnaissance aircraft detected by our air defense forces every year amounts to about 250 air targets," he said, adding that these included the US EP-3E Aeries and P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft and the RQ-4B Global Hawk strategic unmanned aerial vehicles.
Gostev also noted that 78,000 air targets had been detected and escorted over the past year. "Fighter jets on combat duty have been scrambled to intercept NATO reconnaissance aircraft near our southern borders more than 70 times," he said.