MOSCOW – The F-18 fighter attempted to approach the Russian Defense Minister’s plane belongs to the Spanish Air Force.
According to the ABC newspaper, the fighter is part of NATO’s mission to patrol the Baltic airspace.
Madrid has deployed five F-18s in this region along with 140-man service personnel. Spanish military units are stationed in a Lithuanian town and will remain in the region until the end of August.
Currently, the patrol mission of NATO is represented by the air forces of Spain, the UK and Hungary.
A NATO representative commented on the fighter case stating that Russian Su-27s were flying near alliance space, so mission fighters headed for the Russian aircraft. A notify official told Sputnik that as soon as the plane was identified, NATO planes returned to base.
On Tuesday, the F-18 made an attempt to approach the Su-27 plane that was accompanying the aircraft of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, which was flying over neutral waters of the Baltic Sea, on a flight from Kaliningrad to Moscow.
Shoigu was flying from Kaliningrad to Moscow accompanied by two Su-27 fighters from the Russian Baltic Fleet, reported the Ministry of Defense.
A NATO plane made an attempt to approach the Russian aircraft over the neutral waters of the Baltic. However, the Su-27 pilots did not let the F-18 approach the Defense Minister’s plane.
Meanwhile, NATO has completed the scheduled modernization of the Aegis Ashore missile defense system installed in Romania and which, according to the military alliance, serves purely defensive purposes.
The US THAAD anti-ballistic missile system was relocated to the Deveselu military base located in Romania during the time of modernization and will now be repositioned as planned.
NATO stressed that the modernization was part of the US program for Ballistic Missile Defense in Europe, announced in 2009. The Aegis Ashore ground station will track potential threats from outside the military bloc.
The plan to place new US missiles in Europe was announced by Washington following the February 2019 announcement that the country would withdraw from the INF Treaty, which limited the development and production of terrestrial missiles ranging between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. Washington justified the decision, which took effect on August 2, alleging that Russia violated the deal by developing the 9M729 missile.
Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations and provided the US and other countries with evidence of non-compliance with the treaty.