France's air force pilots have been threatened with attack by Russian forces during patrol missions in international air space, French Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu said Thursday.

Russian had tried to "take control" of French air force and navy patrols, he told the RTL broadcaster, adding that Russia was "pushing the limits" with such behaviour.

"A month ago, a Russian air traffic system threatened to shoot down French planes over the Black Sea", which were patrolling in international airspace at the time, he said.

"You have Russian operators threatening French pilots with the shooting down of their aircraft," the minister said.

In a separate incident, a Russian warship was detected near the Bay of the Seine, an inlet of the English Channel on France's Normandy coast, he said.

Although the Russian vessel was in international waters, "it was as if it had come to intimidate France", Lecornu said.


The minister's remarks are the latest in a string of French accusations of aggressive Russian behaviour, including alleged cyberattacks and propaganda directed at France.

Such incidents were "as old as the Cold War", Lecornu acknowledged, but warned that "Russia is pushing the limits in terms of aggressive behaviour".

One cyberattack had targeted a French weapons factory, he said.

Lecornu last weekend ordered his ministry to be more vigilant towards Russian "sabotage and cyberattacks", according to an internal directive seen by AFP on Tuesday.

WORLD BRIEFING: April 21, 2024
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WORLD BRIEFING: April 21, 2024

The world in focus, as seen by a Canadian leading global affairs analyst, writer and speaker, in his review of international media.

President Emmanuel Macron's government is a major supplier of weapons and aid to Ukraine, which has been fighting Russia's invasion for the past two years.

Macron declared last month that Europe's priority must be to "not let Russia win".

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Comments (4)
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Europe and NATO is showing a defensive mentality based on, perhaps naive ideas like:
- Don't provoke the guy with nukes. Let's avoid escalation no matter how much Putler escalates.
- NATO is so strong that he does not dare to stage a real provocation.
- He is doing stuff like this to try to turn the media narrative - "Look the west is acting aggressively". Avoid falling in the trap by non-action.
- He will soon come to his senses, and everything will be dandy again.
The tragic part is that Putler predicted these actions/non-actions from Europe and NATO. There is a real risk that the west is running on a previously prepared track towards something that we can't see - yet. Or perhaps its just a dream...
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Macron unerringly gets things wrong at his first and also his tenth attempt.
It’s definitely no longer, and perhaps never was, about “ not letting Russia win”.
It’s now about getting into areas Macron never dared before.
Specifically and openly to state an objective to accelerate an entirely humiliating and total defeat for Russia by end 2025. Immediate ammunition production on a war footing would send the correct message
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What is it with these nations that keep letting putin kick sand in their face and then do nothing.

-Russia fires a missile at a British surveillance plane over international water.....nothing
-Russia brings down and recovers top USA spy drone in international water...nothing
-Russia threatens to shoot down a French plane over international water...nothing.
- Russian mine hits Panamanian Cargo ship in international water .....nothing
-Russia fire missile at Liberian cargo ship in international water...nothing

If other nations remain too scared to use their weapons, then at least this western tax payer would prefer they just send them ASAP for Ukraine to put to good use.

Joe Average
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@John, you are right on this, it shows that the Western allies fear Russia so much that it prefers not to act, thereby reinforcing bad (worse) behaviour. After the American drone incident, I thought it might be a good lesson to send up another one, minus the expensive bits but packed with explosive and then, when it is being harassed by fighter jets, detonate the explosive taking the jet down. Then, of course, the destruction of the drone and, “unfortunately” the jet too, would have been entirely due to the actions of the jet pilot.

But, as you say, nothing.
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These Frenchman can ask Ukraine for advice how to deal with the orcs navy and aerospace force kadets.