Russia yesterday announced plans for its long-range bombers to begin patrolling over the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. When making the announcement, Russian defense secretary Sergei Shoigu also said the country would also start similar patrols over the Arctic Ocean. Although Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren refused to call the move a provocation, an anonymous senior military official has called such regular patrols over the Gulf “unprecedented” even going back to the Cold War era.
The planned patrols, which are but the latest development in a larger trend of Russian military provocations, come following reports that the country is revising its official military doctrine to designate NATO and the U.S. as “threats” or “adversaries”. They also follow Russia’s violation of its most recent ceasefire agreement with Ukraine as it continues to send troops across the border to fight alongside rebels in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in a conflict that has killed over 4,000 displaced nearly a million people from their homes. (Naturally, the Kremlin continues to deny it has a military presence in Ukraine aside from Russian “volunteers”.)