NATO Baltic scrambles increased in 2017

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The NATO air policing mission over Baltic skies last year conducted more intercepts of Russian military aircraft flying close to the borders of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia than they did in 2016, but fewer than in 2015, reported the LETA newswire January 6.

According to figures provided by the Lithuanian Defense Ministry, NATO jets last year intercepted around 130 Russian aircraft flying over the Baltic Sea.

The alliance's aircraft were scrambled about 110 times in 2016, down from some 160 times in 2015 and 140 times in 2014.

The Baltic air-policing mission has been conducted from bases in Lithuania and Estonia by various NATO member states on a four-month rotational basis and includes coverage of Latvia's airspace too.

Last week, Danish F-16 fighter-jets landed at the Siauliai military airbase in northern Lithuania to take over the air-policing functions from the United States, which had guarded Baltic airspace since September.

You can read more on the background of the Baltic Air Police mission HERE.

Denmark's ambassador in Latvia tweeted about the latest rotation in the mission.


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