Portugal Escorts Russian Ship From Its Waters

Portuguese Defense Minister Jose Pedro Aguiar Branco, Sept. 20, 2011From AFP:  The Portugese Navy escorted a Russian oceanographic ship out of its waters Wednesday in response to the latest in a series of territorial incursions by a Russian vessel or plane.

Portugal identified the ship in the section of sea it has exclusive resource rights over and then guided the vessel back into international waters, Portugal’s Defence Minister Jose Pedro Aguiar-Branco told Portugese press agency LUSA.

From BBC:  Last week Portuguese F-16 fighter jets tracked Russian fighters in the Baltic.

Nato says Russia has intensified military flights in international airspace close to Nato member states’ borders.

A pair of Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers flew all the way to Portugal – in international airspace – before heading back to northern Russia. . . .

Portugal was one of several Nato countries whose airspace was approached last week by Russian planes without notice or explanation – a move alliance officials described as “provocative“.

Now Portugal says the waters of its economic zone have also been breached.

The fact that Mr Aguiar Branco made his comments in Lithuania, where he was visiting members of a Portuguese air force mission leading Nato patrols in the Baltic states, would seem to confirm the linkage to tensions arising from the situation in Ukraine.

Image: Portuguese Defense Minister Jose Pedro Aguiar Branco, Sept. 20, 2011 (photo: Portuguese Ministry of Defense)