NATO jets escort Russian military transport planes

Another Russian Air Force Antonov AN-26 was intercepted by NATO Baltic Air Police (BAP) jets Thursday over the Baltic Sea near Latvian airspace, the National Armed Forces reported on its Twitter feed. A few hours later, another NBS tweet reported an Ilyushin IL-76 strategic cargo plane that had prompted the BAP to scramble for a second time the same day.

The tally of incidents involving the monitoring of Russian military units, whether ships or planes, by allied pilots stationed at Siauliai Airbase in Lithuania, or Latvia's NBS coast guard patrols, now stands at 28 so far this year.

Russian military activity near Latvia's border increased significantly last year. Russian military aircraft and ships were seen over 250 times near Latvia's border last year, including 50 cases of Russian warships coming close to Latvia's maritime borders.

Russian military aircraft tend to operate without using their automatic transponders without announcing any flight plans, then refusing to respond to civilian air traffic controllers and thus posing possible hazards to civilian air traffic.

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