Tense encounter between Spanish and Russian aircraft over Baltic Sea.

A Spanish F-18 fighter jet had a tense confrontation with a Russian Su-27 over the Baltic Sea on Tuesday.

A Spanish aircraft, deployed at the Lithuanian base of Siauliau as part of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission, was seen tagging a plane that was reportedly carrying Russian Defence Minister Serguéi Shoigu.

The Spanish Defence Ministry declined to comment on the incident, saying the F-18 is participating in a NATO mission. NATO have justified the incident.

The spokesperson said that NATO’s air policing mission jets approached to identify the aeroplane flying near Allied air space. Once identification was completed, the NATO jets returned to their base. “NATO has no information about who was on board,” said this source.

Footage shows NATO-led jet closely tagging plane reportedly carrying Russian Defence prompting one of two Russian SU-27 fighter jets accompanying him to see it off.

This is not the first incident between Spanish and Russian aircraft, as the latter have repeatedly approached Baltic air space without identifying themselves.

Since 2004, Spanish fighter jets have taken part on six occasions in NATO air policing missions over the Baltic States.

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Cristina Hodgson

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