Russian jets ‘rush to intercept US and Norwegian patrol’ as tensions threaten to boil over

Russia: US ‘spy plane’ escorted near coast says expert

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Moscow’s RIA news agency reported that MiG-31 fighter jets were scrambled today to intercept the US and Norwegian patrol. The news comes as Nato officials claim the organisation has seen an “unusual peak” of Russian flights in several areas. In one incident at the beginning of April, Nato said they scrambled 10 planes to intercept Russian fly-overs in a six-hour period.

Nato has announced that Russian fighters and bombers are frequently flying in the North Atlantic, North Sea, Baltic, and Black Sea areas.

Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg has said the organisation’s “relationship with Russia that is at least predictable and stable”.

It has been reported that the Russian planes are sometimes not transmitting transponder codes so have posed a potential risk to civilian flights.

Nato said the latest interceptions of Russian jets over Western airspace involved six groups of Russian planes.

In early April Norwegian F-16s were scrambled as two Russian Tu-95 Bears came close to the Norwegian coast.

Russian planes have been regularly flying over the North Sea, prompting UK and Belgian air force planes to scramble.

This month alone the Norwegian air force has had to intercept Tu-160 Blackjack bombers flying out of Russia.

Allied planes have regularly been involved in tracking Russian planes over the Black Sea.

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Relations between Moscow and Nato have deteriorated since 2014 when Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine.

Tensions have continued as Russian-backed rebels took over areas of eastern Ukraine.

Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has requested that Russia resume dialogue in the form of the Nato-Russia Council.

However, the Nato-Russia Council has not met since 2019.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said Nato was typically seeing Russia as a “threat from the East”.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s commander in chief, Ruslan Khomchak, has accused Russia of waging an “aggressive policy” against his nation.

He has pointed to the current build-up of troops on the Russian – Ukrainian border as a sign of escalating tensions.

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