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Fighters Alerted as Russian Bomber Enters Neutral Baltic Airspace

Source: Photo: Reuters/Scanpix

A Russian TU22M bomber entered neutral airspace over the Baltic today, prompting NATO fighters stationed in Lithuania to take off.

According to Latvian officials, the Russian military has conducted strategic exercises in the Kaliningrad region in recent days, reported LETA.

Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks said his country had not been officially notified of the exercises, which is not technically required, and that he has asked Latvian diplomats to inquire about the details of the exercises.

Defense Ministry officials find it hard to overstate the importance of NATO's decision on Wednesday to make the Baltic air policing mission permanent.

The Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian airspace has been guarded by NATO fighters since 2004. The mission was recently made permanent, a move that the Estonian Defense Ministry called Estonia's biggest international victory in recent years.


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