NATO scrambles fighter jets TEN times in one day to intercept unusually high number of Russian bombers and fighters over Europe
- Britain, Belgium, Italy and Norway were among the nations to scramble fighters
- Six groups of Russian jets were intercepted in the space of six hours, NATO said
- It comes with relations between Russia and the West at a deteriorating low point
NATO fighter jets were scrambled ten times on Monday to intercept an unusually high number of Russian military aircraft in the skies of Europe and the North Atlantic.
The UK responded with Typhoon fighters while Belgium, Norway, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey also scrambled jets to protect NATO airspace.
Six groups of Russian jets were intercepted in the space of six hours, with NATO warning that the Kremlin-controlled aircraft were flying under the radar and posing a risk to civilian aircraft.
It comes with relations between Russia and the West at an ever-deteriorating low point after London, Brussels and Washington all slapped new sanctions on Moscow.
NATO fighter jets were scrambled ten times in a day on Monday to intercept Russian military planes, including a Tu-95 Bear bomber (file image), making unusual moves in the skies of Europe and the North Atlantic
NATO said the Russian planes included Tu-95 Bear bombers which were spotted by radars off the coast of Norway on Monday.
The two aircraft were intercepted by Norwegian F-16s but continued to fly south over Belgium and the UK, prompting both countries to scramble jets.
Norway’s air force was later back in action to shadow two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack bombers over international waters.
Further south, Russian planes showed up on NATO radars over the Black Sea, prompting Romania and Bulgaria to launch their own planes.
And Italian fighter jets were also deployed, intercepting a Russian Il-38 maritime patrol plane.
Norway’s air force was twice called upon to intercept Russian military aircraft on Monday, to monitor the flight of a Russian Tu-95 Bear bomber and later two Tu-160 Blackjack bombers (file image)
The patrol plane was escorted by fighter jets over the Baltic Sea as it flew in and out of the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, NATO said.
The various operations were masterminded from control centres in Germany and Spain, according to NATO brigadier-general Andrew Hansen.
He warned Moscow that the operations showed the alliance’s ‘readiness and capability to guard Allied skies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year’.
NATO said the ‘unusual level of air activity’ was a potential risk to civilian planes because Russian pilots often fail to make themselves known.
‘Russian military aircraft often do not transmit a transponder code indicating their position and altitude, do not file a flight plan, or do not communicate with air traffic controllers,’ NATO said.
It was also confirmed that none of the Russian aircraft ever entered the airspace of any NATO nation in Europe.