Moscow claims jets stopped NATO fighter getting close to its aircraft

Moscow claims its fighter jets have seen off a NATO war plane which got ‘almost within touching distance’ of Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu’s aircraft over international waters in the Baltic Sea

  • Moscow claims two Su-27s ‘forced away’ a NATO F-18 over the Baltic Sea
  • Kremlin news agency said F-18 approached Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu’s jet
  • If the report is accurate, it is the fourth such incident in the last eight days
  • RAF Typhoons have been scrambled thrice in the region since last Monday 

Moscow claims its fighter jets halted a NATO war plane that was getting too close to its defence minister’s aircraft over the Baltic Sea today.

A NATO F-18 fighter tried to approach Sergei Shoigu’s jet over international waters before being ‘forced away’ by two Russian Su-27s, Kremlin news agency TASS reported.  

If the report is accurate, it would be the fourth such incident between NATO and Russian air forces over the Baltic in the last eight days.

Footage taken from inside the defence minister’s plane appears to show a Spanish Air Force F-18 flying alongside Shoigu’s aircraft.

A photograph purports to show a Spanish Air Force F-18 approaching the defence minister’s jet today before it was swiftly headed off by the Russians

Moscow’s state news agency claims two Su-27 fighters ‘forced away’ a NATO F-18 jet today after it came too close to their Defence Minister’s jet (pictured: RAF heading off an Su-27 close to Estonia in June this year)

Today, Shoigu’s aircraft was over neutral waters as it made its way from Kaliningrad to Moscow, which was also carrying a TASS reporter, the state news agency said (pictured: Shoigu and President Vladimir Putin watch a military parade in Moscow last month)

Then it makes a hard left banking manoeuvre as an Su-27 approached from under the airliner.

The F-18 is then seen ascending sharply, pulling away from both planes.

On board 64-year-old Shoigu’s plane one voice is heard saying: ‘I’ve got its tail number!’ Another says: ‘It’s going, look at what it’s doing, wow!’ 

NATO did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Last Thursday, RAF Typhoons scrambled from the Amari Airbase in Estonia to intercept a Russian Bear bomber and two Flanker fighter aircraft flying ‘close to Estonian airspace.’

A Typhoon pilot on duty when the scramble was called said: ‘We were scrambled to intercept a Russian TU-142 Fs aircraft, routing west close to Estonian airspace.

‘We then handed over the escort to our Finnish and Swedish partners, as the aircraft continued west. We were then tasked to re-intercept and escort the TU-142 Fs Bear, which has since been joined by two SU-30 Flankers.

‘These Russian aircraft transiting the Baltic region were not on a recognised flight plan or communicating with air traffic control. The intercept was uneventful and conducted in a professional manner throughout.’

Two days prior, RAF Typhoons from the same base were dispatched to intercept a Russian military transport aircraft away from the Estonian border.

And just the day before that incident, the RAF had intercepted another Russian transport plane, as well as a bomber and two Su-27s.

The RAF said these were a routine part of NATO air policing operations which have seen numerous interceptions in recent months, claimed by both sides.  

The RAF took over enhanced Air Policing from the German Air Force on May 3 as part of Baltic Air Policing mission.

Typhoon fighter jets operating from Ämari Air Base in Estonia were sent to escort Russian military transport aircraft away from Estonian territory last Tuesday (pictured: RAF typhoon intercepting Russian Tupolev TU-134 ‘Crusty’ transport aircraft)

Today, Shoigu’s aircraft was over neutral waters as it made its way from Kaliningrad to Moscow, which was also carrying a TASS reporter, the state news agency said.

He had been attending a foundation-laying ceremony for a naval academy and watched an assault competition at the Khmelevka training ground.

Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast region was annexed by the Soviet Union after the Potsdam Conference in 1945 and is a key strategic asset in the Baltic, bordering Lithuania and Poland.

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