Russian Fighter Jets Chase Away NATO Jet Approaching Defense Minister's Plane

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 16, 2019

"They monitored the planes at a safe distance, but one of the Russian fighters conducted an unsafe maneuver, cutting into the flight path of one of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation jets", she said.

A Russian fighter jet saw off a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation warplane after it approached a plane carrying Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu over neutral waters in the Baltic Sea, the TASS news agency reported Tuesday.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was returning to Moscow from the Russian Baltic region of Kaliningrad, which is surrounded by Poland and Lithuania.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has provided further details on an incident that occurred over the Baltic Sea a day ago, saying alliance warplanes approached two Russian Su-27 escort jets that were flying without a flight plan and with their transponders shut off.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation complaining about Russian planes is nothing new, but in this situation it is probably inappropriate because the Spanish F-18 confronted the Russian planes, including a passenger aircraft, in global airspace. He attended a ceremony celebrating the construction of a military academy, the agency said, according to Reuters. "Once identification of the aircraft had taken place, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation jets returned to base", the official added.

A NATO military official issued a statement regarding a Tuesday interaction between a NATO (Spanish) and Russian warplane, condemning Russia's jet for acting in an "unsafe manner", and claiming it was only the "professionalism" of NATO that prevented a risky situation.

Lungescu said two jets from NATO's Baltic Air Policing Mission were scrambled to visually identify the aircraft, "as is routine".

Now F-18 fighters from Spain, JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets from Hungary, and Typhoon jets from the United Kingdom are participating in NATO's long-standing Baltic Air Policing mission.

A similar incident occurred in 2017, when a Polish F-16 fighter approached Shoigu's plane over the Baltic Sea and a Russian jet pushed it away.

This is not the first time North Atlantic Treaty Organisation jets and Shoigu's airplane have been involved in such an incident, with a Polish F-16 approaching the Russian defense minister's plane back in 2017 over the Baltic sea, before it was forced away by Russian jets.

Encounters between Russian and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation fighter jets have increased in the recent years following Russia's annexure of Crimea in 2014. Growing tensions have led to both sides increasing the military patrols.

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