Russia Says Its Jets Drove Off NATO Warplane

NATO explains rapprochement to Shoigu’s plane

According to a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RE/RFL) report, Russian news agency TASS said that a flight on Tuesday from the Kaliningrad exclave to Moscow, carrying defense minister Sergey Shoygu, was approached by a NATO McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, in worldwide airspace. "A Russian aircraft, escorted by at least one Russian fighter jet, was tracked over the Baltic Sea earlier today". The Russian aircraft operate with no FPL, onboard transponders off, and usually do not maintain radio contact with the local air traffic control agencies and for this reason they are identified and escorted by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation aircraft based in Lithuania and Estonia.

In this case the aircraft dispatched to intercept and shadow the aircraft is a Spanish Air Force EF-18, one of the 5 jets now deployed to Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, for BAP mission.

"NATO's F-18 fighter attempted to approach Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu's aircraft, the Russian Su-27 drove it away from Shoigu's aircraft over the Baltic Sea", the TV channel said.

The footage showed a Russian Su-27 maneuvering to drive off an F-18 fighter that flew close to the minister's plane.

Russian media reported the minister's aircraft was being escorted by two navy Su-27 jet fighters at the time.

In Kaliningrad, Shoigu attended a stone-laying ceremony for a future branch of the Nakhimov Naval Academy and the Seaborne Assault competition at the Khmelevka proving ground. The Spanish Air Force has 73 F/A-18 Hornet multirole fighters and 68 Eurofighter Typhoon jets as its primary combat aircraft.

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