NATO confirmed on Friday that two Russian fighter planes had “approached in unprofessional and dangerous way” earlier this week from NATO vessels conducting a routine operation in the Baltic Sea.
NATO Naval Command said the incident occurred Tuesday morning when two Russian planes approached these ships “at an altitude of 300 feet (91 meters) and a range of 80 yards (73 meters)” without pilots responded to communications.
The statement added that NATO considered the approach incident “dangerous and unprofessional to have occurred in a known danger zone, which had been activated for air defense training, and given the level of height and proximity of the aircraft”, noting that “it increased the risk of miscalculations, falls and accidents”.
The statement stressed that NATO forces “have taken action in responsible way” in the face of this incident, in implementation of naval regulations.
He added: “The alliance will respond in appropriate manner to any interference with legitimate NATO activity in the region that would put in endanger the safety of our aircraft, vessels or crew. NATO does not seek confrontation and poses no threat.”
The incident comes as tensions escalate between NATO and Russia over the war in Ukraine.
Fears of a confrontation between the two sides heightened this week after two people were killed by a missile in Poland, which borders Ukraine and is a member of NATO.
The coalition quickly eased tensions by saying the crash was likely caused by a missile fired by Ukraine’s air defense system.
NATO has stepped up its presence in the Baltic and North Seas after sabotaging the Nord Stream gas pipeline.
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