VILNIUS (Sputnik) — The Lithuanian Defense Ministry said that NATO fighter jets carrying out the air policy mission in the Baltic region have allegedly intercepted and escorted Russian aircraft seven times over the past week.
"From August 28 to September 3, NATO fighter jets conducting the air-policing mission in the Baltic states have flown over the Baltic Sea in international airspace seven times to escort Russian aircraft," the statement said.
Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry said on September 1 that Russian jets had conducted 8 sorties to intercept targets near the country's borders in the Baltic region in the framework of the Open Skies Treaty.
Lithuania has no aircraft suitable for the aerial defense. Since the beginning of May, the mission in Lithuania was carried out by four Polish Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon jets, while since September 1 the mission is being conducted by seven US F-15C Eagle fighters.
Since 2014 the number of air incidents involving Russian and NATO planes has increased as a result of the growing presence of the US-led alliance's forces near Russia's western border following the eruption of the Ukrainian crisis. Moscow has said Russia had never planned and does not plan to attack any NATO member.