Over the past week, I've seen a couple news stories about Russian aircraft flying unusually near US military personnel, including warships and US aircraft. What does Russia gain from this, and why are they doing it now (as opposed to, say, three years ago)?

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    Where have you seen the news? The issue is hardly new or Russian centric (during the Cold War USA planes did often enter Soviet airspace); usually the military like to do those things because a) it allows them to gather intelligence about the opponent reaction and b) they like to show off. – SJuan76 Apr 19 '16 at 8:02
  • @SJuan76 mostly from people posting links to articles on my Facebook feed. It makes way more sense if it's a common thing, though – Adonalsium Apr 19 '16 at 15:44
  • I think this is opinion-based. I doubt that you'll get the Russians themselves to even admit to doing this, let alone tell you why, and everything beyond a statement from the Russians themselves is speculation – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Apr 20 '16 at 15:01
  • Well, because all countries do this from time to time. For example, on 16th October 1996 two Swedish Saab 37 Viggen flew near Russian battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy. One of them touched water and crashed. – Matt Apr 20 '16 at 16:49

They're trying to show off, and show to the rest of the world that they are powerful etc. The reasons for why they are doing this are becuase of disagreements the US and western Europe currently have with them. These are: Syria, Ukraine, and Cold War 2.0.

Syria: The US and their coalition and Russia aren't happy with each other because they support different groups fighting in the region.

Ukraine: Becuase NATO and the US claim that Russia has annexed crimea, while Russia denies that. Also the shooting down of MH 17 is a point of conflict between the two sides.

Cold War 2.0: NATO has increased military exercises and troop numbers along the NATO border with Russia, in countries like Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

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  • While these disagreements aren't old, exactly, they don't really seem recent enough for a response just now...is there a reason for why this week in particular? – Adonalsium Apr 19 '16 at 1:15
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    These types of shows put on by Russia's military have been common for a while. They've been happening between NATO and Russian aircraft, ships, and submarines. Here is an article that just shows the incidents from March 2014 - November 2014... there were at least 40 (independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/…) – Noe Apr 19 '16 at 1:28
  • THey are also trying to show how weak the U.S. is currently and they only have until January 20, 2017 to cement whatever gains they can get from the current weakling. Consider what happened when Ronald Reagan was elected. – sabbahillel Apr 19 '16 at 2:03
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    @sabbahillel could you please quote A SINGLE GAIN that Russia has got out of those incidents? I notice USA is in campaign mode, but that should not be an excuse for spreading baseless FUD. – SJuan76 Apr 19 '16 at 8:32
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    @sabbahillel Who said anything about a gain. Yourself, in your previous comment: to cement whatever gains. And well, calling the USA "a weakling" while it spends more in Defense that the following nine countries combined maybe is a little missinformed... – SJuan76 Apr 19 '16 at 14:12

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