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NATO reports 'large scale' Russian air activity in European airspace

NATO reports 'large scale' Russian air activity in European airspace

NATO said Wednesday it had tracked and intercepted four groups of Russian warplanes “conducting significant military manoeuvres” in European airspace over the past two days. “These sizeable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European airspace,” NATO said. The planes, which included strategic bombers, fighters and tanker aircraft, were detected over the Baltic Sea, North Sea/Atlantic Ocean and the Black Sea on Tuesday and Wednesday, it said. NATO allies sent up aircraft to intercept and identify the Russian planes which were continually tracked on the ground as well, it said in a report from its SHAPE military headquarters in Mons, western Belgium.

NATO allies sent up aircraft to intercept and identify the Russian planes which were continually tracked on the ground as well, it said in a report from its SHAPE military headquarters in Mons, western Belgium.

NATO's eastern members, many of them such as Poland and the Baltic states once ruled from Moscow, have been particularly nervous and the US-led alliance has put in place additional aircraft and personnel on a rotating basis to reassure them.

Russia's intervention and the speed with which it was able to bring military pressure to bear on Kiev in support of pro-Moscow rebels in the east surprised many and badly rattled countries on NATO's eastern flank.

In a breakdown of the incidents, NATO said that in the early hours Wednesday, eight Russian aircraft — four TU-95 strategic bombers, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, and four tankers — were detected over the North Sea, flying in international airspace.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday afternoon, a mixed force of at least seven Russian warplanes were intercepted over the Baltic Sea, while another two TU-95s and two Su-27 Flanker fighters were intercepted by Turkish fighters over the Black Sea.

On Tuesday, another seven Russian planes flew over the Gulf of Finland and Baltic Sea where they were intercepted by German Typhoon fighters, deployed as part of NATO's support efforts for its eastern allies.

Više na: news.yahoo.com

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