Mar 12, 2015
Italian Typhoons Jets Scramble to Intercept Russian IL-78 Fuel Tanker Over Baltic Sea
The IL-78 is an air-to-air refueling tanker and is part of a regiment based in western Russia's Ryazan Region nearly 200 kilometers southeast of Moscow.
Over the past few months, several NATO members have expressed concern over Russia's alleged violations of their airspace. The Russian Ministry of Defense retorted, however, that the Russian Air Force's routine flights are in compliance with international agreements and do not violate foreign airspace.
Moreover, the air force command criticized these allegations as distractions from NATO's military buildup in the Baltic region along Russia's western borders.
On Monday, over 120 armored units, including Abrams tanks and Bradley armored vehicles, arrived in Latvia from the United States. Similar equipment, including two groups of US paratroopers, is expected to arrive this week in neighboring Estonia to take part in joint military drills involving 13,000 soldiers.
The nearly year-long conflict in southeast Ukraine has served as justification for NATO's expansion in Eastern Europe.