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British and German Air Forces Join Forces to Intercept Russian Fighters and Spy Planes in the Baltic Sea

In a statement, the Royal Air Force reported that the British and German Air Forces accompanied three Russian military planes over the Baltic Sea last Friday. Eurofighter Typhoons belonging to the IX (B) Squadron of the RAF and the 71 ‘Richtofen’ Wing of the German Air Force were deployed to intercept and identify visually unidentified planes approaching NATO’s airspace.

The two forces are presently collaborating under Operation Azotize to safeguard NATO’s border’s eastern flank. One of the planes was identified as an IL-20 Coot-A intelligence plane of the Russian Air Force that was traveling from mainland Russia to the Kaliningrad enclave.

It was met by two Russian SU-27 Flanker-B fighter planes from Kaliningrad that guided the Coot-A southward via the northwestern region of Estonia’s flight information region. The Russian Defense Ministry has continuously claimed that its aircraft operate flights strictly following international regulations governing airspace usage over neutral waters. The department stressed that it doesn’t enter airways and prevent hazardous encounters with aircraft of other countries.

Meanwhile, Colin Kahl, the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, stated on Monday that the United States is striving to maintain Ukraine’s Soviet-era air defense systems and keep Kyiv fighting until Western systems arrive in the country. During a virtual discussion hosted by Foreign Policy, Kahl remarked, “We’re doing everything we can to both make sure that Ukraine’s Soviet legacy air defense systems remain viable and that Western systems arrive so that Ukraine could stay in the fight, and I’m confident that we and our allies will be able to do that.” Air defense systems will be the top priority at this week’s Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting at Ramstein Air Base, with over 50 countries in attendance, Kahl added.

According to Kahl, the United States switched from Soviet-era systems to NATO-standard artillery systems as the conflict in Ukraine shifted to the eastern part of the country, with 155mm howitzers and HIMARS systems receiving significant attention. Last week, The Washington Post reported that Ukraine’s anticipated spring counteroffensive had been postponed due to poor weather, slow equipment supply, and a shortage of ammunition.

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