NATO fighter jets serving in the alliance's Baltic Air Policing mission out of Ämari Air Base in Estonia and Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania were scrambled three times last week in order to intercept Russian military aircraft in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence said on Monday.
The alliance's jets took off twice on Aug. 17, first to identify and escort two Russian IL-20 planes flying from mainland Russia to the exclave of Kaliningrad and the second time to intercept an IL-20 headed for mainland Russia. The Russian aircraft had flight plans and kept in radio contact with the regional air traffic control center, but their onboard transponders were switched off.
A day later, on Aug. 18, an IL-20 reconnaissance aircraft was intercepted en route from Kaliningrad to mainland Russia. This aircraft also had a flight plan and kept in radio contact with air traffic control, however its onboard transponder was likewise switched off.
Editor: Aili Vahtla