March 18, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news

British and German fighter jets intercepted a Russian plane flying near Estonian airspace Friday, in line with a assertion from the UK’s Royal Air Pressure (RAF).It was the second such encounter this week, as NATO carries out joint air policing efforts within the area.The 2 Hurricane jets intercepted “a Russian army Tu-134 passenger jet, recognized by the NATO identify Crusty, that was being escorted by two Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker fighter jets, and an AN-12 Cub army transport plane,” the RAF mentioned. An interception of this sort is just not atypical for NATO plane, however the joint air policing mission is a primary for 2 NATO allies, the assertion mentioned.The RAF described the operation as reassurance that the UK, Germany and different NATO international locations “stand with their Estonian ally right now of stress.”“We shortly recognized the Russian plane after which monitored it because it flew near NATO airspace,” Richard Leask, an RAF commander, mentioned within the assertion. Air policing missions assist NATO determine any plane of curiosity, “guarantee we all know who they’re” and maintain everybody within the airspace secure, Leask continued.”That is a part of being a fighter pilot and is what we and our German colleagues have skilled collectively to have the ability to do,” the commander mentioned. The RAF is deployed in Estonia on Operation Azotize, which is tasked with defending towards any plane that causes concern in Baltic airspace, the army assertion mentioned. The UK will take over management from the German detachment in April, and joint missions between the allies will proceed to be flown till the top of that month.The 2 intercepts involving NATO plane this week come after the discharge of gorgeous aerial video displaying a Russian jet buzzing after which apparently hitting a US drone over the Black Sea. The drone’s downing highlighted the danger of a direct conflict between Russian and NATO belongings throughout Moscow’s ongoing battle in Ukraine.