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British and German fighter jets intercepted a Russian aircraft, escorted by two others, close to Estonian airspace on Friday, according to a statement sent by the RAF, the British air force, CNN writes. It was the second such incursion by the Russians this week. NATO is responsible for airspace surveillance in the region.
The two Typhoon jets intercepted a “Tu-134 aircraft, escorted by two Su-27 fighter jets and an AN-12 military transport aircraft,” the RAF said. Intercepts of this kind are not new for NATO aircraft in the area, but the joint surveillance mission between the Kingdom and Germany is a novelty.
The RAF also conveyed that the operation is an assurance to Estonian allies that NATO countries support them in these moments of tension.
NATO’s surveillance missions are meant to identify any aircraft approaching the alliance’s airspace and keep the region safe, RAF Commander Richard Leask said.
The RAF has missions in Estonia as part of Operation Nitrogen, which aims to defend against aircraft that may cause concern in the airspace of the Baltic countries. The UK will take over from the German contingent in April, and joint missions between the allies will continue until the end of the month.
This week’s two interceptions of Russian jets come after the tense moment when Russian jets deliberately struck a US drone in the Black Sea, sinking it.
Editor: Adrian Dumitru
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Tags: Russian fighter jets flying dangerously close Estonian airspace intercepted NATO aircraft