Two Russian MiG-31 Foxhound fighter jets and an An-26 Curl military transport aircraft carried out a planned training flight over the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea on Tuesday when they were intercepted by two NATO fighters, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
MOSCOW(Sputnik) — A NATO spokesman said earlier in the day that two Spanish F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets were scrambled on Tuesday from Estonia’s Amari Airbase to intercept the Russian aircraft and briefly violated the Finnish airspace.
“The flight of a group of Russian aircraft was carried out in strict accordance with international rules for the use of airspace, without violating the borders of other states,” the ministry said in a statement.
“During the flight, a NATO F-18 fighter aircraft approached the group of Russian planes at a safe distance and accompanied it for about a minute, after which it changed course and headed towards the airspace of a Baltic state,” the statement said.
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 stated that its flights are carried out in strict accordance with international regulations on the use of airspace over neutral waters.