Analyst warns Russia will respond to F-22 deployment in Europe



Russia will likely retaliate against the Pentagon's planned deployment of its F-22 Raptor fighters in Europe, according to Vladimir Batyuk, from the Institute for US and Canadian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The US' possible deployment of its F-22 Raptor fighters in Europe will inevitably provoke confrontation between Russia and NATO; in any case, the Russian side may respond in kind to Washington's move, Vladimir Batyuk, from the Institute for US and Canadian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Russia's news agency.

"As for the fifth-generation Raptor fighter jets, their deployment will certainly be an additional impetus for Moscow to speed up the process of developing and putting on service the Russian response, the fifth-generation T-50 fighter. The Russian side may also retaliate against other similar actions by the Americans and their allies, Batyuk said.

He recalled that the Russian Defense Ministry did not rule out that Moscow may deploy additional Iskander mobile short-range ballistic missile systems in Kaliningrad, in response to the possible deployment of US heavy military hardware in Eastern Europe.

When asked whether the F-22 fighter poses a threat of a fundamentally different level to Russia, Batyuk said that it's too early to jump to conclusions.

"It is difficult to say to what extent these [F-22] planes are superior to those systems that are currently on service in Russia. In this respect, there are different points of view, but in any case, Moscow has the necessary means to neutralize this threat," Batyuk said.

He predicted that this will mean an additional buildup of Russian troops and arms on its western border with Europe, which will, in turn, result in "not only political but also military confrontation between Russia and NATO."

On Monday, the quoted US Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James as saying that Washington is considering increasing the number of its forces in Europe as well as the deployment of F-22 fighter jets there in the face of strained relations with Russia.