British and German warplanes have been ordered to sort out to intercept a Moscow plane near Estonian airspace, amid growing fears of a confrontation in the skies near Russia and Ukraine.
This incident happened on March 14, just hours after the US military lost a surveillance drone (UAV) in the Black Sea following an encounter with a Russian fighter jet.
Following the incident, Britain and Germany stepped up their joint air surveillance missions over Estonia as part of NATO’s efforts to fortify the country’s eastern flank in response to Russia.
The British Ministry of Defense said Typhoon jets from two NATO allies were ordered to escort them after a Russian IL78 Midas aerial refueling plane failed to contact air traffic controllers. in Estonia.
After identifying and escorting the refueling aircraft, two British fighters were ordered to intercept AN 148 aircraft also flying near Estonian airspace. But the Russian plane did not enter the airspace of Estonia, a NATO member state.
British and German warplanes are conducting joint patrols as part of a surveillance mission over the airspace of the NATO Baltic states until the end of April.
“It’s good to see British and German pilots working as a team,” said RAF 140th Expeditionary Squadron Commander Scott McCall.
British Armed Forces Secretary James Heappey said: “The joint UK and German patrols in the Baltic clearly demonstrate our shared determination to challenge any potential threat to NATO’s borders. at the same time showing our synergy”.
Such incidents were common even before Russia launched a special Ukrainian military operation in February 2022. NATO planes make about 400 intercepts a year against Russian planes.
He also stated that intercepting the Il78 Midas flying between St Petersburg and Kaliningrad was routine. “We were trying to intercept an aircraft that was approaching Estonian airspace. We identified and tracked it as it flew near the airspace of a NATO country. As a fighter pilot, this is a routine job. “, said a Typhoon pilot from the IX Squadron of the Royal Air Force.
But this incident raises concerns because it comes amid heightened tensions between the parties following the collision between a Russian fighter jet and a US drone over the Black Sea.
The incident marks the first time that Russian and US military aircraft have come into direct confrontation since the conflict in Ukraine broke out and threatens to increase tensions between the two countries.