NATO fighter jets have taken off more than 100 times so far this year, compared to just four times in 2010, in response to Russian military planes flying close to the Baltic states.
© DELFI (M.Bajarūno nuotr.)

The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence says the figures "are raising concern over Russia's military activity near the borders of the Baltic states." Moreover, flights with transponders switched off or without a schedule also pose threat to civil aviation.

NATO fighter jets are usually scrambled to accompany Russian planes in those cases when they are flying near the Baltic airspace without a pre-coordinated schedule or with a transponder switched off.

Until Tuesday, there have been 112 such cases so far this year, compared to just four in 2010, 37 in 2011, 44 in 2012 and 47 in 2013, according to the figures provided to BNS by the Ministry of National Defence on Wednesday.

Usually NATO jets accompany Russian planes flying over the Baltic Sea from mainland Russia to the Kaliningrad region.

The NATO air policing mission is being conducted from the airbase in Šiauliai, Lithuania, and the airbase in Amari, Estonia. Allies take part in the mission on a rotation basis. The mission was bolstered earlier this year in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine.

There have been no air border violations in Lithuania so far this year.

BNS
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