An RAF Rivet Joint aircraft which took part in an exercise over the Baltic Sea region in February (Picture: RAF).
An RAF Rivet Joint aircraft which took part in an exercise over the Baltic Sea region in February (Picture: RAF).
RAF

UK surveillance sorties surge since Russian invasion of Ukraine

An RAF Rivet Joint aircraft which took part in an exercise over the Baltic Sea region in February (Picture: RAF).
An RAF Rivet Joint aircraft which took part in an exercise over the Baltic Sea region in February (Picture: RAF).

The number of surveillance sorties carried out by UK RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft has surged since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Figures, obtained from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) after a UK Defence Journal Freedom of Information request, show the number of flights increased from six in December 2021 to a peak of 18 in March, just after the beginning of Russia's invasion.

The figures show the number of sorties each month, since the end of last year:

November 2021 – 10

December 2021 – 6

January 2022 – 9

February 2022 – 12

March 2022 – 18

April 2022 – 12

May 2022 – 14

Rivet Joint aircraft which took part in US led Baltic sea exercise (Picture: RAF).
A Rivet Joint aircraft (Picture: RAF).

The head of MI6 says Russian President Vladimir Putin has suffered an "epic fail" in Ukraine and his forces may have to "pause" in the coming weeks.

Richard Moore, the chief of the UK Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), said the war was "obviously not over" but the Russian invaders may be starting "to run out of steam".

The UK is to supply Ukraine with scores of artillery guns, hundreds of drones and anti-tank weapons in the coming weeks.

Russia and Ukraine recently signed a deal to reopen Black Sea ports to resume vital grain exports, in which minehunters could be required to create a safe corridor.

The deal has been seen as a diplomatic breakthrough aimed at easing a global food crisis initiated by the war.