18:59 GMT26 October 2020
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    The NATO official explained on Tuesday that the alliance reacted to military and civil aircraft nearing member states’ airspace and not following international flight norms.

    BRUSSELS, March 29 (Sputnik) — NATO aircraft escorted two Russian Su-27 fighter jets and a Tu-154 plane over the Baltic Sea on March 28, a NATO official confirmed on Tuesday.

    "On Monday 28 March, NATO radars detected three aircraft flying over the international waters of the Baltic Sea: two Russian Su-27 fighter jets and a Tu-154 transport aircraft," the official said on condition of anonymity.

    "The Su-27 fighters did not have a flight plan, were not communicating with the air traffic control and were not using their transponders. The Tu-154 transport aircraft had a flight plan and used its transponder," the official said adding that the aircraft "were escorted by NATO fighter jets in international airspace."

    A RIA Novosti correspondent reported from the Tu-154 Monday that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was aboard the plane en route to the westernmost Russian exclave of Kaliningrad over neutral waters when the incident took place.

    NATO Eurofighters began shadowing Shoigu’s plane at that time, keeping a distance of just over 1 mile and not approaching the minister’s aircraft.


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