The Russian Ministry of Defense announced Tuesday evening that one of its Su-27 fighter aircraft had intercepted and escorted a pair of United States Air Force B-1B strategic bombers over the Baltic Sea in order “to prevent violation of the state border of the Russian Federation.”
“The crew of the Russian fighter classified the air targets as two US Air Force B-1B strategic bombers and occupied the established air watch zone,” the National Defense Control Center of the Russian Ministry of Defense stated.
The MoD added via its Telegram channel that “after the removal of foreign military aircraft from the State Border of the Russian Federation, the Russian fighter returned to its base airfield. The flight of the Russian fighter was carried out in strict accordance with international rules for the use of airspace.”
This comes a week after Russian aircraft intercepted German and French air patrols in the same area. The planes, a P-3C Orion German plane and a French navy Atlantique 2, were also intercepted by an Su-27 of the Russian Air Force, reportedly for violating their airspace.
Russia has asserted that its escort mission are done in a safe manner, and ““without crossing air routes or making dangerous rapprochement with an aircraft of a foreign state.” Tensions between NATO and Russian aircraft in the region have been steady since the downing of a US MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea in air space Moscow claims it annexed from Ukraine.