Military planes from the United Kingdom and Germany have intercepted near Estonian airspace a Russian aircraft dedicated to in-flight refuelingin a maneuver that passed without further incident and took place on Monday, according to the British government.
A British Air Force Typhoon and a similar model from the German forces participated in the operation. They took off to escort the Russian plane, identified as an IL78 Midas and that it was flying from Saint Petersburg to Kaliningrad, after this aircraft did not respond to calls from Estonian controllers.
Subsequently, they proceeded to escort a second plane, in this case of a commercial type, which was also flying near Estonian airspace, according to the British Ministry of Defence, which has defended these routine operations under the NATO umbrella “in this moment of tension” due to the development of the conflict in Ukraine.
The Secretary of State for the United Kingdom Armed Forces, James Heappey, He stressed that “NATO continues to be the cornerstone of collective security” and pointed out that operations such as the one on Monday demonstrate the willingness of the member states to respond to “any potential threat” to the bloc’s borders.
This event is added to another incident that occurred on Monday and that involved the shooting down of a United States military drone in the Black Sea, after it was hit by a Russian fighter. Washington has denounced an “unprofessional” and “unsafe” maneuver and has expressed its discomfort to Moscow through diplomatic channels.
The commander of US forces in Europe and ‘number two’ of NATO’s military branch, General Christopher G. Cavolireported this incident to all allied countries on the same Monday, according to sources from the Atlantic Alliance.
In this regard, the UK Defense Minister, Ben Wallace, has expressed the need for “all parties to respect international airspace”, and has directly appealed to Russia to do so.