NATO Reports Unusual Surge in Russian Military Flights
NATO has reported an unusual spike in Russian military flights over the Black, Baltic and North seas, as well as the Atlantic Ocean.
On Wednesday, NATO reportedly intercepted at least 19 Russian aircraft flying well beyond Russian airspace.
"These sizable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European airspace," a NATO statement read.
The flights reportedly included four groups of strategic bombers, MIG-31 fighters, and other Russian warplanes conducting large-scale maneuvers in international airspace.
NATO said planes from Britain, Norway, Portugal, Germany, Denmark, and Turkey scrambled in response, but no incidents were reported.
"Scrambles and intercepts are standard procedure when an unknown aircraft approaches NATO airspace," the statement noted. "However, such flights pose a potential risk to civil aviation given that the Russian military often do not file flight plans or use their on-board transponders."
Tensions in the region have been running high since Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine last March.
NATO pilots have conducted more than 100 interceptions of Russian aircraft this year, roughly three times more than last year.