NATO fighter-jets stationed in Šiauliai, northern Lithuania, were scrambled on Tuesday to identify a Russian reconnaissance airplane flying above the Baltic Sea with its automatic transponder switched off.
© A.Rapševičiaus nuotr.

"The NATO fighter-jets serving in the NATO air policing mission were scrambled from Šiauliai to identify and intercept a Russian Il-20 military reconnaissance airplane flying above the Baltic Sea," Asta Galdikaitė of the Ministry of National Defence told BNS.

In her words, the Il-20 was flying to mainland Russia from its Kaliningrad region without a pre-filed plan and was not in contact with the flight control centre.

In Lithuania, the air-policing mission is performed by Norwegian and Italian contingents, which performed another scramble on Monday.

The mission is conducted by Great Britain in Estonia and by Belgium in Poland.

The Alliance's aviation experts maintain that Russian warplanes flying with their transponders switched off pose a threat to civil aviation.

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