Lithuania has observed increased Russian aircraft activity for second week in row

Monday, 17 June 2024

Lithuania's Defence Ministry has been recording increased Russian aircraft activity in the Baltic region for the second week in a row.

As reported by LRT, the Lithuanian Defence Ministry attributes this activity to NATO military exercises in Lithuania and the Baltic Sea.

"The activity of Russian aircraft in the region may be related to the international exercises BALTOPS, Iron Wolf 2024-1, which are currently taking place in the Baltic region," Lithuania's Defence Ministry said.

The Lithuanian Ministry of Defence reported that last week, NATO fighter jets conducting an air policing mission in the Baltic States flew 11 sorties to detect and escort Russian aircraft that violated international airspace rules over the Baltic Sea.


A total of seven Su-24 tactical bombers, five Su-27 fighters, four Su-30 fighters, two Su-34 fighter-bombers, four Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft, two An-30 reconnaissance and aerial mapping aircraft, and an Il-96 passenger aircraft have been detected and escorted.

The majority of those aircraft were flying without flight plans, with radar transponders switched off, and without radio communication with the regional flight control centre.

Most of them took off from Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast in international airspace and landed in the same place – Kaliningrad Oblast.

The week before last, NATO conducted 11 sorties for air policing in Lithuania to identify and escort Russian aircraft flying in international airspace.

Typically, there are only a few such incidents per week.

The Baltic Sea is currently the site of the largest military exercise to date, BALTOPS'24, which involves about 9,000 troops and other personnel, more than 50 ships, and over 80 aircraft from 20 NATO countries.

Last week, Finland reported that a Russian military aircraft had violated its airspace, the first such incident since the country joined NATO last year.

Later, the Finnish authorities elaborated that not one but four Russian military aircraft violated the country's airspace.

Earlier, it was reported that the number of NATO fighter jets deployed to intercept Russian aircraft approaching NATO airspace over the Baltic Sea region increased by 20-25% in the first quarter of 2024.

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