NATO Intercepts Russian Warplanes Across Europe

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) scrambled fighter jets 10 times in less than six hours on March 29 to intercept “an unusual peak of flights” of Russian military aircraft in several areas.

NATO said in a statement that it intercepted six different groups of Russian bombers and fighters near alliance airspace in the North Atlantic, North Sea, Black Sea, and Baltic Sea.

Norwegian F-16s took off after radars detected two Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers near the Norwegian coast, which continued to fly south over the North Sea, prompting the United Kingdom to deploy Typhoon aircraft and Belgium to deploy F-16 fighters.

Then, the Norwegian air force intercepted two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack bombers over nearby international waters.

NATO radars also spotted three Russian military aircraft over the Black Sea, prompting action from Turkish, Romanian, and Bulgarian fighter aircraft.

In another separate encounter, Italian fighter aircraft intercepted a Russian Il 38 maritime patrol aircraft over the Baltic Sea near Kaliningrad.

“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, posing a potential risk to civilian airliners,” NATO stated.

But NATO also said that the Russian planes on March 29 did not enter national airspace of its member states, describing the interceptions as “safe and routine.”

“Intercepting multiple groups of Russian aircraft demonstrates NATO forces’ readiness and capability to guard Allied skies 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” NATO Deputy Chief of Staff Operations Brigadier General Andrew Hansen said in the statement.

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