NATO fighter jets raised from Lithuania over Russian transport plane

Captain Donatas Suchockis, public relations officer at the Lithuanian army’s Joint Staff, said the fighter-jets took off in response to a signal received at about 3:30 p.m. about an Il-76 airplane flying from mainland Russia to its Kaliningrad region.

In his words, the airplane had a flight plan, responded to communication and had its transponder switched on.

This is the second time this week when NATO fighter-jets take off from Šiauliai to accompany Russian airplanes. A Russian fighter-jet Su-24 was identified and accompanied while flying with its transponder switched off on Monday afternoon.

Last week, NATO jets in the Baltic states were scrambled three times over Russian airplanes.

In Lithuania, the NATO air-policing mission is carried out by Italian and Polish aviators, with Belgians serving in Poland and Spanish airmen serving in Estonia.

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