British and German fighter jets intercepted a Russian aircraft flying close to Nato airspace in what is the second incident in the skies in 24 hours.
The Typhoons were scrambled yesterday to cut off an Il-78 Midas refuelling plane approaching Estonia after it failed to communicate with air traffic control.
The British and German air forces are currently policing the air region together as the RAF prepares to lead the mission in the northern European country bordering with Russia.
The Ministry of Defence stressed the ‘routine’ nature of the interception.
But this comes amid heightened tensions between the West and Russia over the war in Ukraine.
As of yet, there is no evidence of a link with yesterday’s crash between a Russian fighter jet and a US drone over the Black Sea.
This appeared to be the very first time since the height of the Cold War that a US aircraft was brought down by a Russian warplane, which was blasted as a ‘brazen violation of international law’.
Armed forces minister James Heappey said: ‘Nato continues to form the bedrock of our collective security.
‘This joint UK and German deployment in the Baltics demonstrates our collective resolve to challenge any potential threat to Nato’s borders, whilst demonstrating our combined strength.’
A Typhoon pilot from the RAF’s IX(Bomber) Squadron, who was not named by the Ministry of Defence, said: ‘We were scrambled to intercept an aircraft approaching Estonian airspace.
‘We identified and monitored it as it transited close to Nato airspace.
‘Any aircraft not communicating with Air Traffic Control or on a recognised flight plan will be intercepted by us to ensure we know who they are and maintain flight safety for all airspace users.
‘As a fighter pilot this was a routine business, even though I was flying alongside a German colleague.
‘It is clear all of our training and hard work paid off as we seamlessly operated together.’
Commander of the RAF’s 140 Expeditionary Air Wing, Wing Commander Scott Maccoll, said it had been ‘great’ to see UK and German forces ‘operate as one team’.
Russia is yet to comment on the incident near Estonia, but Anatoly Antonov, the ambassador in the US, stressed that the Kremlin ‘does not seek confrontation and stands for pragmatic cooperation in the interests of the peoples of our countries’.
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