British fighter jets intercept 3 Russian military aircraft near NATO airspace

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Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) scrambled its fighter jets in Estonia to intercept Russian military aircraft flying close to NATO airspace, the RAF said on Wednesday.

“RAF Typhoons from 140 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) in Estonia were scrambled to intercept a Russian Navy Tu-134 and 2 Su-27 ‘Flanker’ Bs flying close to NATO airspace,” the British air force said on Twitter.

The RAF added: “The Russian aircraft failed to comply with international norms by not liaising with regional airspace control agencies.”

The Russian Tu-134 is a Soviet-era twin-engine jet airliner and the Su-27 is a Russian-made twin-engine air superiority fighter jet renowned for its exceptional maneuverability and advanced aerial combat capabilities.

The British air force shared pictures of a Typhoon jet following the Russian Navy aircraft in close proximity. It said the photos of the jets are clear enough to see the words “Baltic Fleet” written on the side of the Tupolev Tu-134 Russian aircraft in an antique Cyrillic font.

The British air force said that for three consecutive weeks, RAF fighter jets have been scrambled to intercept Russian aircraft flying close to NATO airspace.

On June 14, Typhoons scrambled to intercept a Russian Air Force Ilyushin Il-20 Coot-A and two Su-27 Flanker Bs flying close to NATO airspace over the Baltic Sea. Earlier this month, RAF Typhoons intercepted multiple Russian aircraft twice in less than 24 hours.

On June 9, Typhoons were scrambled to intercept an AN12 'CUB' and an AN72 'COALER' which were travelling south from mainland Russia in the direction of the Kaliningrad Oblast. On June 8, Typhoons and Swedish Air Force Gripens were scrambled to intercept a Russian air force spy plane, being escorted by a Sukhoi Su-27 fighter aircraft flying close to Nato and Swedish airspace.

Heightened tensions between Russia and NATO, against the backdrop of Moscow’s war on Ukraine, have led to increased instances of Russian military aircraft being intercepted while flying in close proximity to NATO airspace over the Baltic region. These encounters have become a recurring pattern, as Russian military planes frequently approach or enter the airspace of NATO member states, such as Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

These incidents underscore the ongoing geopolitical tensions between Russia and NATO, highlighting the importance of maintaining vigilant defense measures and ensuring the security of NATO airspace in the Baltic region.

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