UPDATED: Russians buzzing Baltic again

A high level of Russian military aircraft activity in the Gulf of Finland over the last two days had diplomatic consequences Friday with Estonia reporting an airspace violation.

According to Estonia's Ministry of Defense, a Russian Su-27 Flanker aircraft violated Estonian airspace this morning, the fifth such breach this year.

Russia's ambassador in Tallinn has been summoned to explain the incident which came after heavy Russian activity over the Gulf of Finland by planes flying without transponders turned on resulted in civilian airliners being diverted away from the area for safety's sake.

The Finnish air force carried out visual identifications of similar planes on October 6.

Meanwhile Latvia's armed forces reported that they had identified another plane, this time an Su-24, over the Baltic Sea in international airspace but close to Latvia's sea border.

According to our friends at Estonia's ERR News, the high level of military activity could be linked the the possible transport of Iskander missiles to Russia's Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, allegedly aboard a civilian ship.

"The Russian Baltic Fleet is moving an Iskander rocket system from Ust-Luga to Kaliningrad on a civilian vessel," ERR reported, citing an anonymous source.

You can follow the progress of the ship in question, the Ambal (though sadly you cannot examine its cargo) at the Marinetraffic website HERE.

If confirmed, the deployment of Iskanders to Kaliningrad would ratchet up tensions between Russia, NATO and regional partners such as Sweden and Finland further.

With a range of around 700 km, all three Baltic capitals would be in range of Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad plus Warsaw, Krakow, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Berlin, Prague, Copenhagen and everything in between.

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