NATO jets in Baltics scrambled 3 times last week to escort Russian aircraft

  • 2016-07-06

NATO fighter jets serving in the Alliance's air-policing mission in the Baltics rushed three times last week to identify and escort Russian military aircraft flying in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, the Lithuanian National Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday.

The Russian aircraft, including two reconnaissance planes, two Su-27 fighter jets, and a Tu-134 transport plane, were intercepted by NATO jets on June 27, 28, and 30 in international airspace between the Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad and mainland Russia.

The reconnaissance planes and fighter jets did not have pre-filed flight plans, had their onboard transponders off, and were not communicating with air traffic control centres via radio. The Tu-134 plane had a flight plan, had turned on his onboard transponder, and was maintaining radio communication.

The NATO air policing mission in the Baltic region is conducted from Lithuania and Estonia.

NATO officials have reprimanded Russia for its fighter jets often flying without pre-filed flight plans and with their onboard transponders off.

Additionally, NATO patrols detected two Russian military aircraft near Latvian territorial waters in the Baltic Sea Tuesday, according to the information from the Latvian National Armed Forces.

The detected planes are An-26 and Tu-134.

By June 20 this year Russian military aircraft and ships have been spotted near Latvia's border 395 times.