NATO jets intercept Russian military planes near Estonia

Two NATO-allied Spanish fighter jets intercepted two Russian military MiG-31 planes similar to the one pictured and an AN-26 transport plane near Estonian air space. File Photo by Dmitriy Pichugin/Wikipedia

Aug. 1 (UPI) — NATO jets intercepted three Russian military planes near Estonian airspace Tuesday, an incident that briefly violated Finnish airspace, the military alliance said.

“Two Spanish F-18 jets assigned to NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission scrambled from Estonia’s Amari Air Base on Tuesday morning to intercept unidentified non-NATO military aircraft near Estonian airspace,” acting NATO spokesman Dylan White said in a statement.

The NATO-allied jets intercepted two MiG-31 fighter jets and an AN-26 transport plane belonging to the Russian military.

Finnish jets also scrambled to intercept the Russian planes. White said that when the NATO jets handed over the intercept to Finnish jets, the NATO aircraft “accidentally entered Finnish airspace.”

The intercept came one day after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence made a speech in Estonia calling Russia the biggest threat to Baltic states.

“Under President Donald Trump, the United States of America rejects any attempts to use force, threats, intimidation or malign influence in the Baltic States or against any of our treaty allies,” Pence said.


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