NATO fighter jets, stationed in Lithuania and Estonia as part of the Alliance's Baltic air policing missions, were on Monday scrambled to identify three Russian military planes flying over the Baltic Sea, with two of them flying with their transponders switched off.
Antano Gedrimo nuotr.

The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence told BNS fighter jets took off from Šiauliai to identify a Russian Su-27 fighter jet flying from the Russian region of Kaliningrad, wedged between Lithuania and Poland, to mainland Russia, without a pre-filled flight plan, its onboard transponder switched off and without maintaining radio communication.

Meanwhile, NATO jets stationed at the Amari Air Base in Estonia were scrambled to identify a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft and an An-26 transport aircraft, flying from mainland Russian to Kaliningrad.

The Il-20 was flying without a pre-filled plan and transponder switched off but maintained radio communication with the air traffic control centre. And the An-26 was flying according to a pre-filled plan, transponder on and maintained radio communication.

NATO officials say Russian planes flying with their transponders switched off pose threat to civilian aviation.

In Lithuania, the NATO air policing mission is carried out by Norway and Italy, while British jets guard the Baltic skies from Estonia and Belgians patrol it from Poland.

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