Harper concerned by "aggressive" Russia

Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:32pm EST
 
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SASKATOON, Saskatchewan (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, speaking after it emerged that a Russian bomber had flown toward Canada before U.S. President Barack Obama visited last week, said on Friday he was deeply worried about Moscow's "increasingly aggressive" actions.

The long-range Bear bomber did not enter Canada's Arctic airspace but Canadian CF-18 fighters had to order the plane to turn back. The incident took place less than 24 hours before Obama visited Ottawa on February 19.

"This is a real concern to us. I have expressed at various times the deep concern our government has with the increasingly aggressive Russian actions around the globe and into our airspace," Harper told a news conference in the western province of Saskatchewan.

"We will defend out airspace ... we will respond every time the Russians make any kind of intrusion on the sovereignty of Canada," he said.

(Reporting by Rod Nickel, writing by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)