(CNN) British and German fighter jets intercepted a Russian plane flying close to Estonian airspace on Friday, according to a statement from England’s Royal Air Force (RAF).
This is the second such meeting this week as NATO conducts joint air policing efforts in the region.
The two Typhoon jets “were escorted by a Russian military Tu-134 passenger jet, nicknamed Crusty by NATO, two Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker fighter jets and an AN-12 Kub military transport aircraft,” the RAF said. .
This news is coming up to date General appeals By Ukrainian leaders for Western fighter jets. They say the jets are urgently needed to defend against Russian missiles and drone attacks.
But NATO allies Unable to send More advanced jets for Ukraine, defense experts tell CNN
This type of interception is not unusual for NATO aircraft, but the joint air patrol is a first for two NATO allies, the statement said.
The RAF described the move as an assurance that the UK, Germany and other NATO countries “stand by their Estonian ally at this tense time”.
“We quickly identified the Russian aircraft and then tracked it as it flew close to NATO airspace,” RAF Commander Richard Leask said in a statement.
Air police missions help NATO identify any aircraft of interest, “we know who they are” and keep everyone in the airspace safe, Leask continued.
“It’s part of being a fighter pilot, we and our German counterparts have trained together,” the commander said.
The RAF is involved in Operation Azotise in Estonia, tasked with protecting any aircraft of concern in Baltic airspace, a military statement said.
The UK will take over leadership from the German wing in April and joint missions between the Allies will continue to fly until the end of the month.
The two intercepts this week involving NATO aircraft come after shocking aerial video emerged showing a Russian jet scrambling. A US drone was shot down over the Black Sea.
The drone falls highlighted the risk A direct conflict between Russian and NATO assets during Moscow’s ongoing war in Ukraine.
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