Four Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets of the Italian Air Force landed at the Air Base of the Lithuanian Air Force in the northern Lithuanian city of Šiauliai on Sunday as Italian troops are to take over responsibility for NATO's Baltic air policing mission.
Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets
© AFP/Scanpix

Italian troops will be deployed in Lithuania for the mission for the first time.

They will be safeguarding the Baltic airspace with Polish counterparts. The Italian and Polish troops are taking the mission over from Portuguese and Canadian counterparts.

Earlier this year, NATO bolstered the Baltic air policing mission in response to Russia's mission in Ukraine. NATO fighter jets are deployed for the mission in Estonia and Poland as well.

NATO fighter jets have been scrambled more than 150 times this year to accompany Russian military aircraft flying near the Baltic states, which is three times more than last year. The flights of Russian military planes over the Baltic Sea without pre-arranged schedules and with their transponders switched off pose threat to civil aviation, NATO says.

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