NATO notes "unusual level of air activity" by Russia

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A news release by NATO says the Alliance's fighter jets scrambled no fewer than ten times on Monday, March 29, 2021, to shadow Russian planes, including an interception over the Baltic Sea.

NATO aircraft intercepted six different groups of Russian military aircraft near Alliance airspace in less than six hours.

Italian fighter aircraft intercepted a Russian Il-38 maritime patrol aircraft which was escorted by fighter jets over the Baltic Sea flying into and out of Kaliningrad.

Norwegian F-16s scrambled after radar spotted two groups of Russian military aircraft flying near Norway’s coast. The Norwegian jets intercepted two Tu-95 Bear bombers, which continued to fly south over the North Sea prompting the United Kingdom and Belgium to scramble Typhoon and F-16 fighters, respectively. Later in the day, the Norwegian F-16s intercepted two Tu-160 Blackjack bombers over international waters. 
NATO radar also detected three Russian military aircraft near Allied airspace over the Black Sea. Turkish, Romanian and Bulgarian fighter aircraft took to the skies to track the Russian aircraft until they had left the area.

“The men and women at NATO’s two Combined Air Operations Centres in Uedem, Germany, and Torrejón, Spain, quickly responded to unidentified aircraft near the Alliance’s borders by launching fighters from Norway, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey to investigate and protect allied airspace," said Brigadier General Andrew Hansen, Deputy Chief of Staff Operations at Allied Air Command, Ramstein, Germany.

The Russian aircraft intercepted on Monday never entered Alliance airspace, and the interceptions were conducted in a safe and routine manner, NATO said.

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