Two Russian bomber planes patrol Baltic international waters

A Russian Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber.
A Russian Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber. Source: Finnish Air Force

A pair of Russian strategic bomber planes conducted patrols over the Baltic Sea, according to Baltic News Service.

The seven-hour flight was pre-planned and was confined to airspace over international waters, and involved two Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers, according to Russia's defence ministry.

Nevertheless Danish military planes were scrambled on interception duties, as well as those of non-NATO nations Finland and Sweden, at various stages in the flight, BNS reports.

NATO aircraft were additionally scrambled twice last week for the same reason, which involved two separate flights consisting of Ilyushin Il-20 turboprop airliners in Russian military service, and escorting Sukhoi Su-27 fighters (NATO codename: Flanker), according to Lithuania's defence ministry. The first of the flights had filed no pre-flight plan and did not maintain contact with regional air traffic control, it is reported, whereas the other did tick both of these boxes.

Such flights and interceptions are a common occurrence to and from the Kaliningrad exclave of the Russian Federation, with NATO jets stationed at Šiauliai, Lithuania usually pressed into service. Ämari, in Estonia, is the other NATO Baltic air policing duties base.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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