” The beleaguered mind-set of the Soviet leader might have contributed to their decision to shoot down a South Korean passenger jet, KAL flight 007,that in September 1983 strayed over Soviet territory, killing all 269 people aboard, including sixty-one Americans.” P.393
In 1983, the tensions between the US and USSR reached a level not seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis. These factors were the United States’s Strategic Defense Initiative and planned deployment of Pershing II mission in Europe. The Soviet were highly suspicious of a surprised nuclear attack by the US. On September 1, 1983 when Korean Airlines Flight 007 unintentionally entered Soviet airspace over the Kamchatka Peninsula, in Russia’s Far East region was approaching Sakhalin. The Soviets mistook the commercial airliner as a Boeing RC-135 spy plane owned by the US navy and order Su-15 Flogon fighters to intercept the jetliner. After not being able to get the attention of the pilots in KAL 007, the Soviet decided to shoot down the passenger jet killing all passengers. This horrified the world, many including President Ronald Reagan calling it an act of barbarism.