By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — British Typhoon jets based in Romania have scrambled for the second time in three days to investigate “provocative” Russian aircraft flying on a path toward NATO airspace, the British Defense Ministry says.
The jets launched on August 23 from the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base near the Romanian city of Constanta in response to a Russian Be-12 maritime patrol aircraft heading south over the Black Sea from Crimea, the ministry said on August 24.
The Typhoons were operating in accordance with NATO’s enhanced air-policing mission designed to deter.” Russian aggression, reassure Romania and assure NATO allies of the U.K. commitment to collective defense,” the ministry said.
On August 21, two British Typhoon jets from the same Romanian airbase scrambled to investigate suspected Russian fighter aircraft operating in the region.
The ministry said the Typhoons launched when two suspected Russian Su-30 Flanker aircraft appeared to be heading toward NATO airspace from Crimea.
The statements did not say if the craft actually entered NATO airspace, and there was no immediate comment from Russian officials on either incident.
Encounters between Russian and NATO warplanes have increased in recent years as Moscow demonstrated its resurgent military might. Russia has also increased the presence of its navy in the Mediterranean, Black Sea, and other areas.
Tensions are high in the region since Moscow’s 2014 takeover and illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, a move that led to Western sanctions being imposed against Russia.