Is Russia escalating military threats to France?

French Minister of the , Sébastien Lecornu, has placed the spotlight on the rising aggressive behavior from Russia towards French forces. With over 100 incidents reported in 2023 alone, a significant escalation in Russian confrontations, ranging from threatening communications to attempts at controlling French patrols in international territories, was noted.

Incidents with Russia Step-up

The increasing hostility from Russia is characterized by incidents of varying severity. One notable example was an incident in November 2023 involving a French AWACS in the Black Sea region. A Russian air control system audaciously threatened to shoot down the French plane. Sébastien Lecornu expressed concern over the progressively aggressive stance being displayed by Russia.

Beyond Threatening Exchanges

Multiple incidents surpassed mere threats and hostile radio exchanges. They included attempts to blind helicopter pilots from French frigates and illumination of ships by fire control . These actions can cause severe harm to the crew and are a clear violation of international law principles.

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Direct Threats to French Aircrafts

Lecornu mentioned direct threats from Russian air control service towards French planes. The threats were not just targeted at a single AWACS E-3F, but also against other “French planes”. Furthermore, this was the first time the Minister brought up attempts to blind pilots of NH-90 “Caiman” or Panther helicopters from the French Navy.

French Response and Commitment

Amidst this backdrop of escalating Russian aggression, Lecornu reaffirmed France's commitment to the principles of international law. He stated that the declared missions would be carried out regardless of the threats, and no acts of aggression would deter France from its duties in international territories.

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