More than a month after the start of a new wave of tensions linked to the frozen conflict in Donbass, a separatist territory in eastern Ukraine, the fog remains thick over the risks of escalation on the ground. Since the first accusations, at the end of October, of the deployment of Russian troops on the borders of Ukraine, came from American confidences in the Washington PostMoscow maintains doubts about its intentions, while Kiev, supported by the United States, denies any dramatization.
The only certainty: a perilous battle of “strategic communication” is engaged. Several high-level French sources, who had hitherto remained silent, have expressed their concerns over the development of the situation in recent days.
The accompaniment in flight by Russian Sukhoï SU-27 fighters of several French and American planes, Wednesday 8 and Thursday 9 December, engaged in an intelligence mission over the Black Sea, is not totally unrelated to this release. of speech. While the Russian Defense Ministry spoke on Wednesday about a « interception » of these devices, implying that they had to turn around, the army staff denied the same day, explaining that its planes had just been approached by the SU-27s in order to be filmed – the images were posted on social media – but the mission was successfully completed. And this, in part thanks to an Astac sensor [analyseur de signaux tactiques] visible on the images, which allows to observe Ukraine while remaining above the Black Sea.
“A communication game” relatively well-established, assures a military source. Missions like these, the French Air Force performs four to five per year without difficulty. Conversely, since the beginning of the year, twelve Russian planes flying a little too close to the hexagonal coasts have been intercepted by French fighters, unveiled, Thursday, the general staff of the armies. Adventures that testify to a real feverishness in the region. To the point that questioned by The world, a French official estimates the situation ” very serious “.
“Volatility” of the situation
On the occasion of a joint press point on Friday, the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, her colleague for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, on a visit to Paris, are shown to be concerned. “It is clear to us, as I have said on several occasions, that any attack on the integrity of Ukraine would entail (…) inevitably massive strategic consequences ”, recalled Mr. Le Drian. France is supposed to be one of the main negotiating countries of the conflict alongside Germany in a “Normandy format” which has united Ukraine and Russia since 2014, but which is now blocked.
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