NATO jets from Lithuania scrambled over Russian intelligence plane

“They identified an Il-20, which was flying without a plan and without a transponder, it was in contact,” Viktorija Cieminytė, the head of the Defence Ministry’s Public Relations Division, told BNS.

This was the third time this week when NATO air-policing jets were scrambled from Šiauliai, northern Lithuania, over Russian airplanes.

Last week, NATO fighter-jets accompanied Russian planes three times, as well, including two times by the jets stationed in Šiauliai and once by the NATO airplanes deployed in Estonia.

The NATO air policing mission in Lithuania is currently carried out by Italy and Poland, while the mission is performed by Spain in Estonia and by Belgium in Poland.

The Alliance’s officials maintain that the flights by Russian warplanes with their transponders switched off pose a threat to civil aviation.

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