Tension over the Baltic Sea: Russia intercepted two NATO planes

A Russian Sukhoi fighter, the jewels of the Kremlin Air Force

A new focus of tension between Russia and NATO occurred this Monday, after Moscow affirmed that one of its warplanes intercepted a French and a German military plane over the Baltic Sea, two countries of the Atlantic Alliance. According to the Kremlin, the fighters tried to “violate” its airspace.

“After driving foreign military aircraft away from the border of the Russian Federation, the Russian fighter returned to the airfield undamaged,” the Russian Defense Ministry said on Telegram.

The German plane was a P-3C Orion patrol boat and the French one was an Atlantique 2 anti-submarine patrol boat.specified the Russian ministry.

The Russian authorities indicated that the border was not violated.

“The flight of the Russian fighter was carried out in strict compliance with international rules for the use of airspace over neutral waters without crossing air routes and without dangerously approaching a foreign aircraft,” the ministry said.

Incidents between Russian planes and those of member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have multiplied in recent years, even before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

An Atlantique 2 military aircraft at the Mont-de-Marsan airbase, southwestern France (Bob Edme/Pool via REUTERS)
An Atlantique 2 military aircraft at the Mont-de-Marsan airbase, southwestern France (Bob Edme/Pool via REUTERS) (POOL/)

In April, a Russian fighter intercepted a German Navy plane over the Baltic as it approached the Russian border.

A month earlier, the Russian aviation intercepted an American Reaper MQ-9 drone over the Black Sea, which later fell into its waters. The incident caused a brief escalation of tensions between Washington and Moscow.

The allies generally deploy fighters and other aircraft in the Baltic over those states that border Russia and intercept military and civilian aircraft that do not respect international flight regulations.

For his part, this Monday the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelenskyaffirmed that he hopes to reach an agreement to receive Western combat planes, after meeting with the British prime minister during his tour of Europe in search of greater support against the Russian invasion.

Zelensky traveled to the UK after visiting France, Germany and Italy over the weekend.

Dressed in his characteristic military attire, he met with Rishi Sunak at Checkers, the country residence of the British prime ministers, some 40 miles northwest of London.

At the end of the meeting, the Ukrainian president affirmed that they had discussed the creation of a “coalition of combat aircraft” and said he hoped to reach an agreement soon so that his Western allies would deliver these devices to him.

“We want to create a coalition for airplanes and I am very optimistic about it., we have talked about it and I think it will happen very soon, they will find out about decisions that I consider very important, ”he said before the cameras. He specified, however, that “a little more” work is still needed to achieve this.

Sunak declared himself willing to play “a key role in this coalition”, assuring that it is a complex issue.

Volodimir Zelensky called for a
Volodimir Zelensky called for a “coalition of fighter planes” to reinforce Ukraine and Rishi Sunak promised to promote it (REUTERS / Toby Melville) (TOBY MELVILLE /)

Despite their strong support for Ukraine against Russia, NATO countries have so far refused to provide modern fighter jets. Nevertheless, Sunak confirmed that the UK will help Ukraine train pilots as part of its support.

And he said he would speak to the leaders of other countries about air support at the upcoming Council of Europe summits in Iceland and the G7 in Japan this week.

The British government announced that it will send “hundreds” of anti-aircraft defense missiles and long-range attack drones to Ukraine in the coming months.

The UK already last week became the first Western country to offer Ukraine long-range cruise missiles, the Storm Shadow.

On Sunday, France promised to deliver dozens of light tanks and armored vehicles to Ukraine. And the German government announced a military aid package worth 2.7 billion euros (about $2.9 billion) that includes tanks, armored vehicles, surveillance drones and four new Iris-T air defense systems.

(With information from AFP and Europa Press)

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