"On April 24, 2020, during the scheduled flights of the Baltic Fleet naval aviation crews over the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea, an airborne target flying towards the Russian state border was detected using airspace control of the Baltic Fleet," the statement said.
The Western Military District added that the two Sukhoi Su-27 jets, which took flight to engage and escort the aircraft before it crossed the state border, identified the F-16 fighter jet as belonging to the Belgian Air Force by the numerical identifiers on the aircraft exterior.
"The flights of the Russian aircraft were carried out in strict accordance with international law on the rules of airspace use," the statement added.
The footage of the Su-27 jets escorting the F-16 has been published by Ria Novosti news agency.
— РИА Новости (@rianru) April 25, 2020
Encounters between Russian and NATO airсraft have intensified recently, with up to 20 jets belonging to the bloc approaching the country's borders every week. Russian air defence forces regularly monitor, target, and track hundreds of NATO aircraft operating close to the border, and occasionally scramble fighter jets to escort foreign military aircraft away from Russian airspace.