Ukraine was recently able to locate and eliminate the headquarters building of a Russian mercenary group known as Wagner. No fatalities were yet reported. The successful location and destruction of Wagner Headquarters came about because "a reporter [Sergei Sreda] posted images online accidentally revealing its location." [i]
Following this embarrassing misstep, Putin claims that a British reconnaissance craft, RC-135, "violated the Russian air border near Cape Svyatoy Nos, located between the Barents Sea and the White Sea and north of Kola Penninsula." The British RC-135 possesses "equipment to collect real-time electronic intelligence data." [ii]
The Wagner Group
The Wagner Group is a well-known Russian private military group of mercenaries. Many have stated that mercenaries are crucial to Putin's strategy for winning the war. Though previously a secretive military group comprised mainly of those with backgrounds in elite and special forces, it is suggested that standards required to join have been lowered. [iii]
The video below details the Wagner group's recruitment video, which "promises 'travel and friendship' in a mercenary recruitment drive."
Ukrainian armed forces located the Wagner group's HQ after a Russian war reporter, Sergei Sreda, shared photographs on the site 'Telegram' that were taken while visiting the soldiers. One photo appeared to include Yevgeny Prigozhin, also known as 'Putin's chef,' the purported head of the Wagner mercenary group. [iv]
One of the images posted by the reporter revealed a street sign giving away the location. The street sign was "at Popasna in the Sievierodonetsk district of Luhansk." The reporter had bragged openly about how welcoming the troops had been unknowing of the building's upcoming fate. [vii]
Alleged British Illegal Crossing of Russia's State Border
The British military and American forces "operate intelligence gathering aircraft." Allegedly, a British aircraft violated the Russian air border "in the Arctic area of Cape Svyatoy Nos." Once the aircraft was discovered over the Barents Sea, a Russian MiG-31BM fighter "scrambled in response and forced the plane out of the Russian territory." More on the specifications of the Mach 3.0 MiG-31 Foxhound is described in the video by Military TV below. [v]
Any airspace outside 12 nautical miles "from a coastal state's baseline is international airspace where all nations are allowed to fly." In response to the accusations, Senior Defense Analyst with the Norwegian Institute of International affairs, Per Erik Solli, stated:
The Americans and Brits have been flying over the Barents Sea since the 1950s, normally from bases in the United Kingdom. There has only been one incident."
The referenced incident occurred way back in 1960 when an American reconnaissance aircraft was over the Barents Sea, and the Soviet Union thought the plane had entered Soviet air space. Reportedly, "It was later acknowledged that the American plane was in international air space." [vi]
Reconnaissance missions include "spy missions" such as those conducted several months ago over eastern Ukraine using two specialized aircraft. The US aircraft used during that mission included the E-8C JSTARS and an RC-135V Rivet Joint, as described in the video below.
[i] Thomas Nilsen, Russia accuses British spy plane of violating airspace north of Kola Peninsula, (Aug. 16, 2022)
[iii] The Telegraph, Wagner group promises 'travel and friendship' in mercenary recruitment drive, (Jul. 18, 2022)
[iv] Thomas Nilsen, Russia accuses British spy plane of violating airspace north of Kola Peninsula, (Aug. 16, 2022)
[v] Xinhua, Russia accuses British reconnaissance aircraft of border violation, (Aug. 16, 2022)
[vi] Thomas Nilsen, Russia accuses British spy plane of violating airspace north of Kola Peninsula, (Aug. 16, 2022)
[vii] Mark Reynolds, Wagner HQ devastated by Ukrainian blitz after online boast, (Aug. 15, 2022)