Dec 8, 2014

Russian Jets Run Off By NATO Fighter Planes Over Baltic — Three Reported Incidents In Single Day

Russian jets flying over the Baltic Sea dangerously close to the border of NATO ally Latvia were intercepted and run off by NATO fighter planes in three separate incidents reported by Latvia’s military Sunday. The encounters were just the latest in what has been a record number of confrontations in the skies between Russian and NATO aircraft this year.
The appearance of Russian jets over the Baltic follows closely after Norway released a video last week of a Russian fighter jet cutting off a Norwegian military plane in mid-air, avoiding a disastrous collision by just 60 feet. The Norwegian military did not reveal when the frightening near-miss took place.
In the first incident, reported Sunday evening Latvian time, NATO F-16 jets stationed in the Baltic as part of the NATO policing mission there took off to intercept a squadron of six Russian jets skirting Latvian air space.
The Russian jets included four Tu-95 bombers and two Tu-22 bombers similar to the Tu-22 pictured above.
In the second Sunday incident reported by the Latvian military about two hours after the first, Canadian Hornet fighter jets took off to catch up to four more Russian aircraft.
The Russian jets this time included three Tupelov Tu-134 jets — which double as commercial airliners and military planes — of the type pictured below.
The final showdown in the skies Sunday between Russian jets and NATO fighters took place sometime after 10 p.m. Latvian time, when NATO planes intercepted two more Tu-134 jets an another AN-72.
All of the incidents took place over neutral waters in the Baltic Sea. The Baltics have been the site of dozens of aerial encounters between Russian jets and NATO fighters throughout 2014, in what military and political experts see as a return to Cold War tensions.

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