NATO fighter jets serving in the NATO air policing mission in the Baltic countries were scrambled three times last week to intercept Russian military aircraft, including bombers, flying in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence said on Monday.
© Reuters/Scanpix

On Apr. 18, NATO jets from the Šiauliai Airbase in Lithuania were scrambled to intercept Russian aircraft flying from and back to Russia's Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad.

It was not possible to identify the Russian aircraft, which flew in international airspace without pre-filed flight plans, with their onboard transponders off and without maintaining radio communication with air traffic control centers.

On Apr. 21, NATO fighter jets stationed in Šiauliai and in the Amari Airbase in Estonia were scrambled once from each airbase to intercept Russian military aircraft.

The jets operated from Šiauliai identified and escorted two Su-24 front-line bombers that had taken off from Kaliningrad and later returned to the exclave.

Meanwhile, the jets operated from Amari identified and escorted two Tu-22 strategic bombers flying from and then back to mainland Russia.

Both the Su-24 and the Tu-22 bombers flew without pre-filed flight plans and with their onboard transponders off. They did not maintain radio communication with air traffic control centers.

The NATO air policing mission in the Baltic states is currently being carried out by Spain and Belgium.

BNS
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