Russian President Vladimir Putin stated on Saturday that Russia is “always ready for any scenario” when it comes to a potential direct confrontation between the Russian and NATO militaries. Putin’s comments came in response to recent near-collisions involving Russian and American aircraft in Syria.
While speaking to journalists, Putin emphasized that no one wants a conflict between Russia and the Western-led bloc. He highlighted the existing conflict-prevention lines that allow Russian and US officers to communicate directly about any crisis situation. Putin pointed out that these communication channels are still functioning, indicating that neither side is interested in escalating tensions. However, he also stated that if someone, other than Russia, desires a conflict, his country is prepared for any outcome.
According to Admiral Oleg Gurinov, the head of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria, the Russian military has reported a total of 23 dangerous incidents involving Russian aircraft and those of the US-led coalition since early 2023. Most of these incidents occurred in July. In 11 cases, Russian pilots claimed to have been targeted using Western aircraft-targeting systems. In response, Russian aircraft released decoy flares after their onboard defense systems were automatically engaged.
Moscow has consistently warned Washington and its allies about the risks of a potential direct conflict between Russia and NATO, especially in light of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Russia has argued that continued Western arms supplies to Kiev only prolong the hostilities and encourage deeper involvement from its Western supporters.
Overall, Putin’s comments indicate that Russia is not seeking a conflict with the Western-led bloc but is prepared for any scenario that may arise. The fact that communication channels between Russian and US officers remain open suggests a mutual desire to prevent further escalations. Moscow’s warnings about the risks of a direct conflict in Ukraine reflect its concerns about the impact of continued Western support for Kiev’s military activities. As tensions persist, it is crucial for all parties involved to prioritize diplomacy and seek peaceful resolutions to avoid any unintended confrontations.