One month after the US intercepted on several occasions Russian tactical bombers flying in proximity to Alaska, overnight Russia returned the favor when a Russian Su-27 fighter jet was scrambled to intercept a US B-52 strategic bomber over the Baltic Sea as the American warplane was flying along the Russian border, the Russian Defense Ministry reported.
The ministry statement said that Russia’s air force detected the aircraft on Tuesday morning at around 7:00 GMT. The Su-27 of the Russian Baltic Fleet was deployed in response and shadowed the American aircraft after identifying it, as the bomber was flying in neutral airspace over the Baltic Sea along the border, Russia's RIA said quoted by Reuters. After the American warplane left the airspace near Russia, the Su-27 returned to its base of deployment, the statement said.
The latest interception comes amid ongoing NATO training exercises near the Russian border. The Northern Atlantic defense block is currently conducting one of the biggest drills this year in Romania, with another to take place in Estonia. The alliance claims it is necessary to build confidence among member states in Eastern Europe and the Baltic in the face of the alleged threat from Russia.
Moscow has repeatedly criticized what it sees as growing "anti-Russia hysteria" in Europe and considers the military build-up near its borders a threat to its national security. It has accused NATO of fearmongering to justify bigger defense spending by allies. NATO has countered that it is merely building up and testing defense forces to avoid another Crimea-type incident.