Nov 2, 2014

NATO Baltic Jets Intercept Russian Airplanes for Third Day

NATO jets in the Baltic countries intercepted two Russian military aircraft today as the alliance said Russian air activity has surged on its borders.
F-16 jets from NATO’s Baltic air policing mission intercepted a Russian Su-27 fighter and Eurofighter aircraft later shadowed an IL-76 military transport plane, Latvia’s army said on its Twitter account. It reported interceptions of seven Russian jets yesterday and on Oct. 28.
Amid tensions with the Kremlin over the crisis in Ukraine, North Atlantic Treaty Organization jets have tracked more than 100 Russian aircraft so far this year, more than triple the number in 2013.
Russians are exercising and moving aircraft in the Baltic area between St. Petersburg and the Kaliningrad exclave much more than they did in the past as a result of higher military spending.
NATO warplanes monitored four groups of Russian military aircraft conducting “significant” maneuvers in European airspace over the Baltic, North and Black seas, the alliance said in a statement today.
Repeated Incidents
While most interceptions don’t involve airspace incursions, Latvia’s northern neighbor Estonia and non-aligned Finland have reported repeated incidents this year where Russian aircraft violated their airspace. Sweden staged its biggest naval mobilization since the Cold War earlier this month in a week-long hunt for a suspected foreign vessel in the Stockholm archipelago.
Russian warplanes practiced a bombing mission against Denmark’s Baltic Sea island of Bornholm in June, the Jyllands-Posten newspaper reported, citing information from military intelligence.

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