NATO scrambled jets over Baltic and Black seas over Russian aircraft
NATO has tracked “a number of unidentified” aircraft over the Baltic and Black seas since Tuesday, and in response, it launched allied fighter aircraft from NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centers at Uedem, Germany, and Torrejon, Spain, the organization said in a statement on Friday.
Poland, Denmark, France, Spain, Romania, and the United Kingdom have all launched fighters to investigate unknown aircraft approaching allied airspace.
"Allies deployed from the north to the south of Europe remain unified in support of the NATO Air Policing mission," said Maj. Gen. Jorg Lebert, the chief of staff for the Allied Air Command. "The quick response of NATO's two CAOCs demonstrates NATO forces' readiness and capability to guard Allied skies 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year."
Russian aircraft never entered alliance airspace, and the NATO statement said that “the interceptions were conducted in a safe and routine manner,” though it didn’t specify how many of these interceptions occurred.
Over the course of Russia's now nine-week war in Ukraine, NATO has sought to strengthen its eastern flank and provide military aid to Ukraine while also trying to avoid actually getting pulled into the war. President Joe Biden and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg have said that they would not enter the war unless Article 5 is invoked. The rule maintains that if any NATO country is attacked, every member should view it as an attack perpetrated against itself.