Russian forces buzzing Europe’s borders

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NATO Baltic Air Police (BAP) jets scrambled three separate times Sunday to intercept Russian Armed Forces planes over neutral waters, according to National Armed Forces (NBS) tweets.

Earlier in the day the BAP intercepted and identified a pair of SU-27 fighter jets and two TU-22 bombers near the borders of Latvia’s maritime territory. Later the two fighter jets reappeared again twice, flying without any notification of flight plans, or using any communications lines or automatic responders.

Previously this weekend, Great Britain’s Air Force Typhoon jets also headed off two Russian TU-95 strategic bombers (nicknamed ‘Bear’) in neutral airspace near the UK’s skies, according to reports Friday by sky.com news.

Also Friday the Russian Defense Ministry released news of a training mission involving the firing of an anti-missile rocket Redut against a simulated enemy attack launched from a P-257 stationed at Russia’s Baltic Sea naval base in Kaliningrad. The waters near the base were closed to all civilian sea traffic during the drill, enforced by around ten cutters and ships. The ship targeted in the simulated attack, the corvette Soobrazitelny, was spotted several times this summer by NBS patrol boats near Latvia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) waters.

As reported, on Friday Russia stepped up its ongoing provocative military behaviors in the region by test-skirting Swedish airspace, in addition to seizing a Lithuanian fishing vessel from international waters in the Barents Sea and “dragging it to Murmansk”, as Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius tweeted that afternoon. Both actions have prompted diplomatic protests from the Swedish and Lithuanian officials, respectively.

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