If the following news had been "sourced" by Ukraine news agencies, we would caveat it by saying it is almost certainly propaganda. However, since the source for this AP story appears to be "US officials", we will only assign a 98% probability to it being propaganda. Hot on the heels of our report that the Russian "Doomsday Plane" had been seen in the vicinity of the Baltic states, we learn of more Russian airborne acrobatics, this time involving Russian fighter jets which flew into Ukrainian airspace a "handful of times over the last 24 hours, in what one called a continued provocation of the heightened tensions in the region." One, of course, being a "US source" - the kind that was behind the original armed coup in the first place, so one should take this "news" on a somewhat salty basis too.
The officials say it's not clear what the intent was, but the aircraft could have been testing Ukrainian radar or making a show of force. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk publicly about the issue.
The flights come as Russia increases military exercises along the Ukraine border, including moving a broad array of fixed wing and rotary aircraft, infantry and armor troops.
But that's not all: Bloomberg also reports that Russia has increased the number of helicopters at a military base close to the Latvian border from 30 to about 100 during the Ukrainian crisis, according to the Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics at news conference in Riga. In response, NATO has provided reassurance package for region, signaling that Baltic states are part of military alliance.
Well, yes: Russia did warn repeatedly that any escalations against east Ukraine citizens will provoke a retaliation, and when the Ukraine army launched its latest (however brief) anti-terrorist campaign, which lasted for about 12 hours before Kiev pulled it back after seeing a massive Russian army surge on its border it made sure of just that. Russia also warned NATO that any buildup in its forces would be met in kind. And since NATO did build up forces in East and Central Europe, why should one be surprised by Russia's response.
It is a very simple game theory strategy: tit for tat. And now we have finally entered the constant mutual defection phase. This will continue until at one point the cost to a player to continue defecting will be great enough that a military "release" will be the only option.