NATO fighter jets have been scrambled more than 100 times so far this year in response to Russian military planes flying close to the Baltic countries, the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense told BNS on Wednesday.
In 2010 it happened only four times.
According to the ministry the figures “are raising concern over Russia’s military activity near the borders of the Baltic states”. Moreover, flights with transponders switched off or without a schedule also pose a threat to civil aviation.
As on Tuesday, there have been 112 such cases so far this year, compared to just four in 2010, 37 in 2011, 44 in 2012 and 47 in 2013, the ministry’s figures show.
Usually NATO jets accompany Russian planes flying over the Baltic Sea from mainland Russia to the Kaliningrad region.
The NATO air policing mission is being conducted from the airbase in Siauliai, Lithuania, and the airbase in Amari, Estonia. Allies take part in the mission on a rotation basis. The mission was bolstered earlier this year in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. SOURCE