The fact that NATO fighter jets have to soar to investigate undesired activities in the airspace of the military alliance is a frequent occurrence: more than 400 times in 2020 alone, according to data from the US broadcaster CNN. Around 90 percent of the cases involved incidents involving aircraft from Russia. What happened that Monday surprised even experienced analysts.
Aircraft had to take off from different bases ten times because Russian planes had approached the airspace of member states. It was “six different groups of Russian planes in less than six hours,” said a NATO spokesman. This means a “rare peak value”. These incidents included:
Norwegian F-16 fighter jets monitored two Russian Tu-95 long-range bombers near the Norwegian coast
The Russian planes then flew south over the North Sea. British and Belgian planes took off in response
The Norwegian Air Force was also later alerted about two Tu-160 supersonic bombers
NATO planes monitored the flight of three Russian planes over the Black Sea
Italian warplanes intercepted a Russian naval plane over the Baltic Sea near the city of Kaliningrad
Despite this unusual cluster of incidents, NATO emphasized that none of the numerous Russian aircraft had entered the airspace of a member state. There is still no comment from Russia on Monday’s flight movements.
Only last week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg appealed to Russia to revive the so-called NATO-Russia Council. This body, which is intended to facilitate mutual exchange and rapprochement, has not met since 2019