Fighter jets from Ämari escort Russian military aircraft, Air Force says it's nothing new ({{commentsTotal}})

Ämari-based Spanish Eurofighter Typhoon jets were scrambled last night to escort seven Russian air force aircraft, including four SU-27 fighter jets.

The rest of the Russian aircraft were transport planes, the Latvian Defense Forces said.

Alar Laats, a spokesman for the Estonian Air Force, told ERR News there was little remarkable about the case as NATO jets are sent out each time aircraft with no flight plan and no working transponders fly close to NATO countries. While civilian aircraft all need to send flight plans, turn transponders on and communicate with air traffic authorities, military aircraft are not required to do so.

Laats said there were around 100 similar cases last year alone. The high number of recent such events points to Russian military exercises in the region. Laats said the number could increase in the next few months as Estonia and its allies will hold large military maneuvers themselves, and Russia might not resist taking a closer look.

Latvian forces spotted three Russian submarines and other vessels near its waters today.

Lithuanian Defense Ministry said Italian fighter jets, based in Lithuania, escorted 11 Russian military aircraft on March 17. The aircraft had not switched on transponders, did not present flight plans and refused to communicate. Most were heading to Kaliningrad, Postimees reported.

Editor: J.M. Laats