NATO Fighters Intercepted Russian Jets Today, Lavtia Says

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NATO fighter planes made interceptions of seven Russian military aircraft near Latvia’s border today, following a similar incident yesterday, the country’s army said on its Twitter account.

F-16s based in the Baltic states intercepted two Russian Su-24 fighter aircraft and then later a group of five, comprising two Su-24, two MiG-31 and one Su-27 fighter, a day after North Atlantic Treaty Organization planes intercepted seven Russian jets, the Latvian army said.

With the conflict in eastern Ukraine bringing ties between Russia and NATO to their lowest level since the Cold War, Russia’s relations with alliance members and non-aligned countries around the Baltic Sea are being strained due to increased activity by Russian military aircraft and ships.

Estonia and Finland reported increased violations of their airspace, while Sweden earlier this month staged its biggest naval mobilization since the Cold War in a week-long hunt for a suspected foreign vessel in the Stockholm archipelago.

Estonia accused Russia of kidnapping one of its security officers from Estonian soil last month, while Lithuania said one of its fishing vessels was seized by Russia in international waters. Russia, which has rejected U.S., European Union and Ukrainian accusations that it’s fueling the Ukraine crisis, has also rejected both Baltic claims.

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