March 21, 2023


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NATO fighters intercept Russian aircraft near Estonian airspace

(CNN) British and German fighter jets intercepted a Russian aircraft flying near Estonian airspace on Friday, according to a statement from the Royal Air Force.

This is the second confrontation of its kind this week, with NATO conducting a joint air police effort in the region.

The RAF said the two Typhoons intercepted “a Russian Tu-134 military passenger aircraft, known by the NATO designation Crusty, which was escorted by two Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker fighters, and one AN-12 Cub military transport aircraft”. .

This news comes amidst renewed general appeals By the Ukrainian commanders of Western combat aircraft. They say the planes are badly needed to defend against Russian missiles and drone attacks.

But NATO allies It is unlikely to send More advanced jets to Ukraine, defense experts told CNN.

An interception of this type is not unusual for NATO aircraft, the statement said, but the joint air police mission is a first for two NATO allies.

The RAF described the operation as reassurances that the UK, Germany and other NATO countries “stand by their Estonian ally in this time of tension”.

“We quickly identified the Russian aircraft and then observed it flying close to NATO airspace,” RAF Commander Richard Lesk said in the statement.

Air police missions help NATO identify any aircraft of interest, Lisk continued, “to make sure we know who they are” and to keep everyone safe in the airspace.

“That’s part of being a fighter pilot and that’s what we and our German colleagues have trained together to be able to do,” the commander said.

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Tensions escalate

The military statement said the Royal Air Force is deployed to Estonia in Operation Azotize, which is tasked with defending against any aircraft of concern in the Baltic Sea airspace.

The United Kingdom would take command from the German detachment in April, and the transfer of joint tasks between the Allies would continue until the end of that month.

This week’s interception of a NATO plane comes after a stunning video was released showing a Russian plane apparently buzzing and then buzzing. A US drone strike over the Black Sea.

Drop the drone Highlight the risks A direct clash between Russian and NATO assets during Moscow’s ongoing war in Ukraine.