British and German jets intercept Russian planes near Estonian airspace

fighter jet

Russia is yet to comment on the incident in Estonian airspace (Image: PA)

British and German warplanes have intercepted a Russian plane flying near NATO airspace, the second such incident in the skies in 24 hours.

The Typhoons were scrambled yesterday to cut off an Il-78 Midas refueling plane on approach to Estonia after it failed to communicate with air traffic control.

The British and German air forces are currently jointly monitoring the air region as the RAF prepares to lead the mission in the northern European border country with Russia.

The Department of Defense emphasized the “routine nature” of the interception.

However, this comes amid heightened tensions between the West and Russia over the war in Ukraine.

So far there is no evidence of a connection with yesterday’s crash of a Russian fighter jet and a US drone over the Black Sea.

This appeared to be the first time since the height of the Cold War that a US plane had been shot down by a Russian warplane, in what was branded a “blatant violation of international law”.

Armed Forces Secretary James Heappey said: “NATO continues to be the bedrock of our collective security.

“This joint UK-German deployment in the Baltics demonstrates our shared determination to challenge any potential threat to NATO’s borders while demonstrating our collective strength.”

A Typhoon pilot of the IX. (Bomber) Squadron of the RAF, which was not named by the Defense Ministry, said: “We were tasked to intercept an aircraft approaching Estonian airspace.

“We identified and monitored it as it passed near NATO airspace.

“Any aircraft not communicating with air traffic control or on an approved flight plan will be intercepted by us to ensure we know who they are and to maintain flight safety for all airspace users.

“As a fighter pilot, it was routine, even though I was flying alongside a German colleague.

“It is clear that all our training and hard work has paid off as we have worked seamlessly together.”

The commander of the RAF’s 140th Expeditionary Air Wing, Wing Commander Scott Maccoll, said it was “terrific” to see British and German forces “operating as a team”.

Russia has yet to comment on the incident near Estonia, but Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov stressed that the Kremlin “does not seek confrontation and advocates pragmatic cooperation in the interests of the peoples of our countries.”

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Justin Scacco

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