NATO fighter jets were scrambled on multiple occasions in response to Russian aircraft which came near alliance airspace in the Black and Baltic Sea regions at a moment the Western alliance continues deepening its involvement in Ukraine via weapons shipments and intelligence-sharing.
An official NATO statement said its fighters were sent to intercept Russian aircraft "multiple times over the past four days".
"Allied fighter jets on NATO duty scrambled multiple times over the past four days to track and intercept Russian aircraft over the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea. All interactions occurred in a safe and routine manner," the statement from Brussels said.
The intercepts have been ongoing over this past week. NATO officials said the alliance tracked an unspecified number of aircraft since Tuesday via radar.
"Russian military aircraft often do not transmit a transponder code indicating their position and altitude, do not file a flight plan, or do not communicate with air traffic controllers, posing a potential risk to civilian airliners," NATO’s air command described in a statement.
According to details in Stars & Stripes:
Quick reaction fighters from Poland, Denmark, France and Spain made the intercepts in the Baltic Sea region. Meanwhile, Romanian and British aircraft scrambled from Romania to track aircraft in the Black Sea region, NATO said.
The Russian aircraft never entered alliance airspace, NATO said, adding the intercepts were conducted in a safe and routine manner.
It goes without saying that these close encounters are highly dangerous at a moment any level of direct diplomatic communications have largely ceased.
In the past four days, #NATO jets scrambled multiple times in the Baltic and Black Sea to intercept Russian military planes, NATO says.— EHA News (@eha_news) April 29, 2022
▪️The interceptions were conducted by planes from the UK, Denmark, Romania, Poland, France and Spain. pic.twitter.com/TBdnxOha1Q
Additionally, the Kremlin has lately repeated its warning that any NATO military aid or assistance entering Ukraine is a "legitimate target".