Russia’s Defence Ministry has stated that an MiG-31 fighter jet was scrambled to intercept a Norwegian Falcon 20 jet outfitted for conducting electronic warfare and reconnaissance missions.
"Russian air surveillance equipment detected an airborne craft flying over the neutral waters of the Barents Sea and approaching the Russian borders. [...] After the spy plane turned away from the Russian border [the MiG-31 fighter jet] returned to its air base safely", the Russian military explained.
The Russian National Defence Management Centre stressed in a statement on the incident that the Russian jet was acting in accordance with international regulations in order to prevent the Norwegian military jet from violating the national border.
NATO military airplanes routinely fly along Russia’s borders, frequently prompting the country's air force to scramble jets to prevent illegal border crossings. Over the past two weeks alone, there have been at least five other such incidents along Russia’s borders - not only in the north-west, but also in the south-west.
These flights became regular after relations between the West and Moscow began to deteriorate following a coup in Ukraine in 2014 along with subsequent accusations and sanctions against Russia.