Russian radar coverage
© Planeman 2010
In 2018, anti-air defense forces detected and escorted about 3,000 foreign fighter aircraft, of which more than 1,000 were reconnaissance aircraft, reported the Russian Aerospace Force.

The exact number of foreign military aircraft was announced by the commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces Radiotechnical Troops, Major General Andrei Koban, in an interview with the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper:
"The intensity of air traffic within the limits of responsibility of the Radiotechnical Troops is what mainly hampers military service. In 2018, the units in service of the Radiotechnical Troops detected and monitored more than 980,000 aerial targets, among which there were about three thousand foreign airplanes including more than 1,000 reconnaissance aircraft."
At the same time, the Russian major general underlined that the air defense units were put in combat readiness more than four thousand times.

"This is clear evidence of the high voltage of the service in the Radiotechnical Troops, which we are accustomed to and for which we are ready," Koban said.

In his words, Russian anti-aircraft units detect and escort more than five thousand aerial objects daily, of which about 2,500 are foreigners. In addition, each day about 20 military units are put in combat readiness.

Earlier, the same newspaper reported that over the past week, Russian authorities have identified 16 foreign aircraft carrying out reconnaissance activities near Russian borders. In that connection, Russian jets were sent twice in that period to intercept foreign airplanes, preventing them from entering Russian airspace.

The presence of foreign spy jets conducting reconnaissance activities near the Russian border has been frequent. Also according to Krasnaya Zvezda, at least 17 military aircraft from other countries were seen in this situation earlier this month.

The Russian Ministry of Defense regularly reports on foreign aircraft approaching national borders. In this connection, it has repeatedly called on international partners to limit such activity. Despite this, the number of reconnaissance flights continues to be high.
About the Author:

Paul Antonopoulos is a Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies. He has an MA in International Relations and is interested in Great Power Rivalry as well as the International Relations and Political Economy of the Middle East and Latin America.