MOSCOW, May 27. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Air Force will intensify surveillance of the Baltic countries’ airspace if NATO warplanes begin flights on a large scale there, a high-ranking source in the General Air Force Staff told ITAR-TASS on Tuesday, commenting on NATO plans to conduct large-scale training flights of its aviation over the Baltic states on May 27 - 28.
“If such flights really begin, we will intensify the surveillance of the airspace of the Baltic countries from our territory. To this end, we will fly fighters that are based in the Western Military District,” the source said.
At the same time, the Russian General Air Force Staff representative does not believe that NATO aviation flights over the Baltic counties pose a military threat to Russia. “There is no threat of any kind here. Yes, they fly, but we also fly when we need to, and don’t ask anybody’s permission,” he said.
According to previous media reports that referred to the Latvian Defence Ministry, the NATO Air Force command in Ramstein on May 27 - 28 planned to conduct large-scale training flights in the airspace of the Baltic countries (Baltic Region Training Event, BRTE). It was also noted that seven NATO member countries and two countries — participants in NATO’s Partnership for Peace Programme were to take part in the BRTE.
The NATO air police mission over the Baltic states currently engages the MiG-29 fighters of the Air Force of Poland, Typhoon fighters of Britain’s Royal Air Force, F-16 fighters of Denmark, Rafale of the French Air Force. It was reported that the Netherlands would participate in this mission with its F-16 fighters.