NATO scrambles planes 10 times to track Russian military planes across Europe

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NATO scrambles planes 10 times to track Russian military planes across Europe


NATO scrambled fighter jets 10 times on Monday to track and intercept an unusually rare “spike” of Russian bombers and fighters flying over the North Sea, Black Sea and Baltic Sea, according to a NATO official.

“NATO planes intercepted six different groups of Russian military planes near alliance airspace in less than six hours,” the organization said in a statement.

Russian activity in an unusually large area of ​​European skies took place on the same day that the North American Aerospace Defense Command said it was tracking Russian planes off the coast of Alaska.

None of the Russian planes entered the national airspace of NATO countries in Europe and interceptions were considered safe, but an alliance statement detailed the activity.

The Norwegian F-16s scrambled after radars detected two groups of Russian military planes near the Norwegian coast. The Norwegians intercepted two Tu-95 Bear bombers that flew south over the North Sea. This prompted the UK to send Typhoon planes and Belgium to deploy F-16 fighters. The Norwegian F-16s subsequently intercepted two Tu-160 bombers over nearby international waters.

Separately, NATO radars detected three Russian military planes near Allied airspace over the Black Sea which were tracked by Turkish, Romanian and Bulgarian fighter jets until they leave the area.

In another meeting, NATO said Italian fighter jets intercepted a Russian II-38 maritime patrol plane that was already being escorted by Russian fighter jets over the Baltic Sea from Kaliningrad .

CNN reported on Saturday that the United States is preparing to wage a classified war game this summer in which one of the main goals of the scenarios will be how the United States should react to aggressive actions and unexpected moves by China. and Russia.

Tensions with Russia are high and last week Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Russia for “reckless and contradictory actions” at a NATO meeting in Brussels and observed that Moscow had “constituted forces, large-scale exercises and acts of intimidation ”. in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea. ”

“The interception of several groups of Russian planes demonstrates the readiness and ability of NATO forces to guard Allied skies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year,” said Brig. General Andrew Hansen, deputy chief of operations at Allied Air Command, said in the NATO statement.

NATO planes jammed more than 400 times in 2020 to intercept unknown planes according to the alliance. About 90 percent were in response to Russian aircraft flights. NATO says Russian flights often pose a risk to civilian air traffic over Europe, as Russians often fly without transmitting a transponder code indicating their position and altitude and do not file a flight plan or do not communicate with air traffic controllers.

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