NATO Blames Russia After Video Shows Close Call Between Fighters Near Defense Minister’s Plane

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NATO Blames Russia After Video Shows Close Call Between Fighters Near Defense Minister’s Plane

The U.S.-led NATO Western army alliance has blamed Russia for Tuesday’s encounter over the Baltic Sea, the place a fighter jet from Russia chased off one from Spain.

The incident was first revealed by the state-run Tass Russian News Agency, which reported {that a} Russian Sukhoi Su-27 had chased off a NATO F-18 because it tried to close a airplane over the Baltic Sea carrying Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu again to Moscow from Kaliningrad. Footage launched shortly after by the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed veering excessive left to power what seemed to be a Spanish F/A-18 Hornet away from an unidentified plane within the foreground, however NATO mentioned the next day that Moscow was at fault.

“A Russian Tu-214 aircraft, escorted by two Russian Su-27 fighter airplanes, was tracked over the Baltic Sea near NATO airspace in the early afternoon (local time) on 13 August. The Tu-214 had a valid flight plan. However, the two escorting Su-27 flew without a flight plan, their transponders were switched off, and they did not communicate to air traffic control,” NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu instructed Newsweek in an announcement.

“Two jets from NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission were scrambled to visually identify the aircraft, as is routine. They monitored the planes at a safe distance, but one of the Russian fighters conducted an unsafe maneuver, cutting into the flight path of one of the NATO jets,” she added.

NATO Blames Russia After Video Shows Close Call Between Fighters Near Defense Minister's Plane
A Russian Sukhoi Su-27 intercepts a Spanish F/A-18 Hornet working on behalf of NATO above the Baltic Sea, August 13. The Su-27 reportedly compelled the F/A-18 away from a Tupolev Tu-124 airliner carrying Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. RUSSIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENSE

In a previous statement sent to Newsweek on the day of the incident, a NATO spokesperson mentioned that “Jets from NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission scrambled to identify the aircraft which flew close to Allied airspace. Once identification of the aircraft had taken place, the NATO jets returned to base. NATO has no information as to who was on board.” Again NATO maintained it “has no information as to who was on board.”

Tass cited a Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Wednesday as confirming the incident, saying “the fighter jet, which was spotted on the video, is indeed Spanish, which is under control of NATO.”

NATO formally describes its Air Policing mission as “a collective task and a purely defensive mission, which involves the 24/7 presence of fighter aircraft, which are ready to react quickly to airspace violations.” It introduced this operation to the Baltics in 2004 when Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined what has since turn into a 29-nation protection group.

With NATO’s borders having expanded considerably eastward since its starting on the daybreak of the Cold War, considerations have been raised by Russia, whose rival Warsaw Pact collapsed together with the Soviet Union within the early 1990s. Since then, nonetheless, Moscow has witnessed a resurgence in army and political may, shoring up its borders in opposition to states now aligned with the West.

Long-strained on either side of those borders had been considerably broken amid a 2014 rebellion in Ukraine that introduced in a pro-NATO president, however noticed Moscow annex the neighboring Crimean Peninsula and stand accused of backing a separatist insurgency within the east. Tensions arose and by 2016 NATO had designated multi-national battle teams within the three Baltic states and Poland.

NATO Blames Russia After Video Shows Close Call Between Fighters Near Defense Minister's Plane
A graphic exhibits the composition of 4 multinational battlegroups of the NATO Western army alliance in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland as of June 14. The teams had been shaped in 2016 in response to what the U.S.-led protection group noticed as heightened Russian aggression within the area. North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Eastern Europe has turn into an particularly tense area for failing relations between Washington and Moscow because the U.S. formally left the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) earlier this month and introduced plans to develop and deploy previously-banned missiles starting from 310 to 3,420 miles. U.S. officers accused their Russian counterparts of creating a cruise missile that violated the settlement, whereas Moscow charged the Pentagon with deploying protection methods able to getting used offensively as effectively in Romania and Poland.

NATO has defended the U.S.’ choice to exit the INF however has expressed hesitation in introducing such new weapons to the frontlines of heightened frictions with Russia.

Spain, a founding member of NATO, has participated in no less than six rounds of the Baltic Air Policing mission and at the moment based mostly its planes in Siauliai, Lithuania. The Spanish air power drew controversy round this similar time final yr, nonetheless, when one if its Eurofighter Typhoon jets accidentally fired an AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) throughout an train over southeastern Estonia.

Such drills typically drew complaints from Russia, which has accused NATO of provocative actions throughout Europe. Both sides have held workout routines at an elevated tempo and have been concerned in lots of of intercepts throughout the continent in recent times.

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