Nato reports Russian air activity in EU airspace

2014-10-29 22:47
(Saul Loeb, AFP)

(Saul Loeb, AFP)

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Brussels - Nato said on Wednesday it had tracked four groups of Russian warplanes "conducting significant military manoeuvres" in European airspace over the past two days.

"These sizeable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European airspace," Nato said.

The planes, which included strategic bombers, fighters and tanker aircraft, were detected over the Baltic Sea, North Sea/Atlantic Ocean and the Black Sea on Tuesday and Wednesday, it said.

Nato allies sent up aircraft to intercept and identify the Russian planes which were continually tracked on the ground as well, it said in a report from its SHAPE military headquarters in Mons, western Belgium.

The report made no mention of the Ukraine crisis nor linked the increased activity to it.

However, Russia's intervention in Ukraine, which Nato says constitutes the most serious threat to US-Europe security since the Cold War, has sent tensions soaring.

Nato's eastern members, many of them such as Poland and Baltic states once ruled from Moscow, have been particularly nervous and the US-led alliance has put in place additional aircraft and personnel on a rotating basis to reassure them.

Nato said there had been more than 100 intercepts of Russian aircraft in 2014 to date, about three times more than in 2013.

"Scrambles and intercepts are standard procedure when an unknown aircraft approaches Nato airspace," it said.

Read more on:    nato  |  russia  |  ukraine

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