The aerial drills come amid a growing number of interceptions between NATO and Russian military aircraft over the Baltic and Black Seas.
Russia has started tactical fighter jet exercises over the Baltic Sea in a bid to test readiness to carry out combat and other special operations, the country’s defense ministry said, a day after Moscow said its planes had rushed to intercept British military planes over the Black Sea. Sea.
“The main objective of the exercise is to test the readiness of the flight crew to carry out combat and special tasks as planned,” the Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.
“Crews of Su-27 (fighter jets) of the Baltic Fleet fired from airborne weapons at enemy cruise missiles and fake aircraft,” the ministry said on the Telegram messaging channel, adding that apart from improving skills, Russian fighter pilots are on “24-hour combat duty” guarding the airspace of the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.
Wedged between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic coast, Kaliningrad is Moscow’s westernmost state and was part of Germany until the end of World War II. Given to the Soviet Union at the Potsdam conference in 1945, the enclave has a population of around 1 million – mostly Russians but also a small number of Ukrainians, Poles and Lithuanians.
Russia said last year it had deployed fighter jets armed with cutting-edge equipment Kinzhal hypersonic missiles at Chkalovsk Air Base in Kaliningrad as part of its “strategic deterrence”.
On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry said it dispatched two fighter jets as British Typhoon fighter jets approached its border over the Black Sea and the planes “turned -tour and moved away from the Russian border” following the intervention of Russian fighter planes. The Typhoon planes accompanied an RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft, the Defense Ministry said.
“The Russian planes returned safely to their airfield. There was no violation of the Russian border,” the ministry said.
Interceptions involving Russian and Western military aircraft have multiplied on the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea in recent months amid growing tensions over Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
On Sunday, the British Ministry of Defense said Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon fighter jets operating with NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission in Estonia had hastened to answer to Russian planes 21 times in the past 21 days. RAF fighters are currently operating from Estonia as part of NATO’s “rapid reaction alert” to secure its eastern European flank.
“RAF Typhoons launch to monitor Russian planes when they are not talking to air traffic agencies, making them a danger to flight safety,” the UK Ministry of Defense said in a statement on Sunday. communicated.
“These interceptions are a stark reminder of the value of collective defense and deterrence provided by NATO,” said British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.
RAF Typhoons in Estonia rushed this afternoon to intercept a Russian Tu-134 “CRUSTY” and 2x Su-27 “FLANKER” B flying nearby @NATO airspace. The Russian aircraft failed to meet international standards and failed to liaise with relevant airspace control agencies. pic.twitter.com/XlEpK5onLv
— Royal Air Force (@RoyalAirForce) June 22, 2023
In May, Moscow said it intercepted four US strategic bombers over the Baltic Sea in two separate incidents in a week. In April, a US military Reaper drone crashed in the Black Sea after a confrontation with two Russian fighter jets. Washington blamed the risky maneuvers of Russian fighter jets for causing the drone crash.
Russia also dispatched warplanes to intercept French, German and Polish planes.