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Fighter Jets from Germany and Britain Confront Russian Planes Near NATO Border

The Royal Air Force stated that British and German Air Forces accompanied three Russian military planes over the Baltic Sea on Friday. IX (B) Squadron RAF and 71 ‘Richthofen’ Wing of the German Air Force deployed Eurofighter Typhoons to intercept and visually identify several unidentified aircraft flying near NATO airspace. The two forces are currently working side by side under Operation Azotize to safeguard NATO’s eastern flank.

A Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot commented on a mission to intercept a Russian plane over the Baltic Sea on Monday, stating, “What this intercept has shown is that, together with our German allies, we can act quickly and decisively to effectively ensure the security of the Alliance,” according to an RAF press release.

Recently, Eurofighter Typhoon fighter planes from the German Air Force and the Royal Air Force performed a joint operation to intercept a Russian jet flying over the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea, which seemed to be collecting intelligence. One of the recognized aircraft was a Russian Air Force IL-20 Coot-A, escorted by two Russian SU-27 Flanker-B fighters based in Kaliningrad. They accompanied the Coot-A south through the northwestern part of the Estonian flight information region.

“We frequently see Russian military aircraft flying over the Baltic Sea, so this was a routine intercept for us,” said a pilot who was involved in the mission. “However, the importance of intercepting these aircraft and our commitment to the collective defense of NATO airspace remain steadfast and resolute.”

The Russian Defense Ministry has often stated that Russian jets flying over neutral waters abide by international airspace regulations, adding that they do not violate other countries’ airspace or tolerate close calls with flights from other countries.

On Monday, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl stated that the USA is doing everything possible to ensure that Ukraine’s Soviet-era air defense systems remain functional and that Kyiv stays in the fight until western systems arrive in the country. During a virtual debate organized by Foreign Policy, Kahl said that air defense systems would be one of the top priorities during the upcoming Ukrainian Defense Contact Group meeting, which will involve more than 50 countries and take place this week at the Ramstein airbase.

Kahl stated that when the battle in Ukraine moved to the country’s eastern portion, the United States shifted its focus from legacy Soviet systems to standard NATO artillery systems, with a particular emphasis on 155mm howitzers and HIMARS systems.

According to The Washington Post, last week, Ukraine’s much-anticipated spring counteroffensive was postponed due to weather conditions, slow equipment supplies, and ammunition shortages.

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