MOSCOW, March 25. /TASS/. The number of NATO spy plane flights near Russia’s state border grew by over 30% in 2021 and the Russian air defenses timely spotted the reconnaissance aircraft in all the cases, Head of the Federation Council’s Defense and Security Committee, Aerospace Force Ex-Chief Viktor Bondarev said on Thursday.

“Unfortunately, the member states of the North Atlantic alliance have considerably intensified the use of reconnaissance aviation lately. The number of such flights has grown by over 30% compared to last year. In all the instances, our air defense systems timely detected foreign military planes, established continuous control of them and took measures to prevent the violation of the Russian border,” the senior senator said at an annual briefing with foreign military attaches accredited in Russia.

“We believe that the practice of the combat employment of strategic aircraft in close vicinity to the Russian state border is of hostile and provocative nature,” the ex-chief of Russia’s Aerospace Force said.

Russia is not interested in escalating tension, he stressed. “Most of the armed forces’ operational combat training measures are held in the country’s depth. Russia is set for constructive interaction with the United States and its allies,” Bondarev said.