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NATO fighters have again intercepted Russian warplanes in international airspace. The number of air incidents involving Russian and NATO planes has increased in the past years as a result of growing presence of the US-led alliance forces near Russia’s western border since 2014.
Belgian F-16 fighters intercepted two Russian Air Force Su-27 jets and a cargo aircraft over the Baltic Sea during an air-policing mission, NATO said on Wednesday.
"On the afternoon of September 5, 2017, a NATO radar picked up two Russian Federation Air Force fighter jets leaving Kaliningrad airspace heading north in international airspace," the NATO release said. "The military aircraft did not communicate their identity and were not in contact with civilian Air Traffic Control agencies."
Belgian F-16s, the release added, took to the skies to identify the Russian Federation Air Force Su-27 jets and Il-76 heavy cargo aircraft. All Russian aircraft returned to Kaliningrad and the Belgian F-16 jets safely landed at Amari Air Base, the release added.
It was the Belgian jets' first intercept after taking over the augmenting role for NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission.
The number of air incidents involving Russian and NATO planes has increased in the past years as a result of growing presence of the US-led alliance forces near Russia’s western border since 2014. In addition, the Baltic states have constantly accused Russia of violations of their airspace.
The Russian Defense Ministry has repeatedly said that its flights are carried out in strict accordance with international regulations on the use of airspace over neutral waters.
2017.09.06 / 21:57