Britain’s Royal Air Force scrambled fighter jets last night to intercept Russian military aircraft seen flying close to NATO air space, officials have said.
RAF Typhoons currently based in Estonia were sent up to meet a Russian Navy Tupolev Tu-134 and two Sukhoi Su-27 flankers.
The British air force shared photos on Twitter of the Typhoons making the interception, flying along-side the larger Tu-134 with ‘Baltic Fleet’ written on the side.
‘This evening, RAF Typhoons from 140 EAW in Estonia were scrambled to intercept a Russian Navy Tu-134 and 2x Su-27 ‘FLANKER’ Bs flying close to NATO airspace,’ the RAF said in the post on the social media platform.
‘The Russian aircraft failed to comply with international norms by not liaising with regional airspace control agencies,’ it added.
Britain’s Royal Air Force scrambled fighter jets last night to intercept a Russian navy aircraft seen flying close to NATO air space (pictured), officials have said
RAF Typhoons (right) currently based in Estonia were sent up to meet a Russian Navy Tupolev Tu-134 (left) and two Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jets in the skies near Estonia
The intervention is the latest in a string of incidents where Moscow’s jets have strayed close to NATO air space since Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine last year.
A near-identical incident happened on Friday, which saw RAF Typhoons intercept a Russian Air Force IL-20 COOT A and two SU-27 near Estonian airspace.
Moscow’s jets ‘failed to comply with international norms’ then as well, the RAF said.
Estonia, a former Soviet state, borders Russia and is one of the 31 members of NATO, and has been one of Ukraine’s most staunch backers since Russia invaded.
The RAF has sprung into action on a number of occasions since the war in Ukraine began in order to deter Russian aircraft from breaching NATO airspace.
On June 9, British jets were scrambled for a second time in 24 hour when Typhoons intercepted an Antonov An-12 Cub and an Antonov An-72 Coaler that were flying south from mainland Russia towards the Kaliningrad Oblast.
The same fighters were then re-tasked to intercept two Tupolev Tu-22M Backfire bombers and two Su-30SM Flanker H fighters that were detected flying from mainland Russia over the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea, the RAF said.
And this came after RAF Typhoons and Swedish Air Force Gripens were scrambled to intercept a Russian Air Force IL-20 Coot A and a Su-27 Flanker on June 8. The Russian jets were flying near Swedish airspace on this occasion.
In a sign of tensions in the airspace around Ukraine, it was revealed earlier this year that a Russian fighter jet attempted to shoot down a manned RAF jet over the Black Sea, in what could have amounted to an act of war.
The intervention from the RAF jets comes just days after a near-identical incident, in which RAF Typhoons intercepted Russian Air Force IL-20 COOT A and two SU-27 on Friday near Estonian airspace (pictured)
Fortunately, the missile malfunctioned in an incident US defence officials today revealed was far more serious than first thought.
The blundering Su-27 pilot mistakenly believed a radar operator on the ground had given him permission to fire on the British jet and take it down on September 29.
The Russian jet locked on the RAF RC-135 Rivet Joint surveillance aircraft and let rip – but its deadly missile failed to launch properly and missed. Previously it was believed the missile was launched by accident – not a deliberate act of war.
Wednesday’s interception came as Western allies gathered in London and promised to make Russia pay for its invasion of Ukraine, as governments and private investors met to fund the country’s reconstruction from the ravages of war.
The World Bank has put an estimate of $14 billion on Ukraine’s immediate needs for repairing the damage caused by the bitter fighting.
But a recent study by the World Bank, the UN, the European Union and the Ukrainian government said the wider recovery of the economy would cost $441 billion.
‘Let’s be clear: Russia is causing Ukraine’s destruction,’ US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told delegates at the London conference.
‘And Russia will eventually bear the cost of Ukraine’s reconstruction,’ he added.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak voiced a similar message, promising to keep tough sanctions in place ‘until Russia pays up’, and use seized assets to get Ukraine back on its feet.
In the conflict overnight, Russia said it had downed three Ukrainian drones in the Moscow region, while Ukraine said its air defence systems had shot down six Iranian-designed attack drones in the west.
The conference comes as President Volodymyr Zelensky oversees a military fight-back by his troops using Western-supplied heavy weaponry to regain territory lost to Russian forces since last year.
‘Every day of Russian aggression brings new ruins, thousands and thousands of destroyed houses, devastated industries, burnt lives,’ Zelensky told the London delegates by videolink.
But he set out his stall for future investment in Ukraine, saying that despite the devastation, the country was ripe for development in sectors from technology and green agriculture to clean energy.
International help for Ukraine would send a strong message to the world for generations to come, he said.
‘Also, the world is watching to see if we will restore normal life in such a way that our transformation will land an ideological defeat on the aggressor.
‘We protect Ukraine, and thus we protect freedom. And when we build Ukraine, we’ll build freedom.’
Wednesday’s interception came as Western allies gathered in London and promised to make Russia pay for its invasion of Ukraine, as governments and private investors met to fund the country’s reconstruction from the ravages of war
Leaders and representatives from more than 60 countries are attending the International Ukraine Recovery Conference 2023 – the second to be held since the Russian invasion in February last year.
The first, in Lugano, Switzerland, in July last year saw Kyiv’s allies commit to supporting Ukraine through what is expected to be an eye-wateringly expensive and decades-long recovery.
African countries, though, have voiced concern that by pumping aid to Ukraine, the West is backing off from its pledges to help the continent with development and fight climate change.
Sunak told delegates that Kyiv’s allies would support Ukraine ‘on the battlefield and beyond’ for as long as it takes.