Two Russian planes were flying close to Estonia on Tuesday night, and the U.K. as well as Germany, scrambled fighter aircraft to intercept them.
The Russian aircraft was a Russian Il-78 Midas refueling airplane and an Antonov 148 combat transport. It approached NATO airspace unnoticed by Estonian authorities. This was the first joint air intercept conducted by the U.K. & Germany under the NATO treaty.
James Heappey, U.K. Armed Forces minister, stated that NATO “continues to form the foundation of our collective security.” “This joint UK-German deployment in the Baltics clearly shows our collective resolve and will to confront any threat to NATO’s borders while demonstrating our combined strength.”
This incident occurred just hours after two Russian planes shot down a U.S. drone worth $32 million over the Black Sea. Two jets harassed the drone for several minutes before severing its propeller.
“At 7:03 AM (CET), one Russian Su-27 plane struck the propeller on the MQ-9. This caused U.S. forces to have the MQ-9 brought down in international waters. The Su-27s had a history of dumping fuel on the MQ-9 several times prior to the collision. They flew recklessly, unprofessionally, and environmentally unsoundly in front of the MQ-9. This incident shows a lack of competence, in addition to being dangerous and unprofessional,” U.S. European Command and U.S. Air Forces Europe – Air Forces Africa stated in a statement.
This incident is part of a series of dangerous Russian pilot actions over international airspace. It also includes interactions with Allied and U.S. aircraft, including the Black Sea. The statement said that these aggressive Russian aircrew actions are dangerous and could cause miscalculations and unintended escalated.”
According to the U.S., the drone was performing routine operations in international aviation at the time of the accident.
According to Ned Price, the State Department summoned Anatoly Antonov, Russian Ambassador to America to protest the intercept.