BRUSSELS, June 21. /TASS/. NATO had no information that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was aboard a plane that was approached by the alliance’s F-16 fighter over the Baltic Sea, a NATO official told TASS on Wednesday.
On Wednesday morning, the NATO aircraft attempted to follow the Russian defense minister’s plane over the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea when it was flying to Kaliningrad. The plane carrying the Russian defense minister on board was escorted by Su-27 fleet fighters. One of the NATO planes attempted to approach the defense minister’s plane, but a Russian fighter appeared between them, waving its wings to show the arms it was carrying, after which the F-16 flew away.
NATO called the response actions by the pilots of the Russian plane and the escort fighters "professional and safe."
"NATO can confirm that three Russian aircraft, including two fighters, were tracked over the Baltic Sea earlier today (21 June 2017). As the aircraft did not identify themselves or respond to air traffic control, NATO fighter jets scrambled to identify them, according to standard procedures. NATO has no information as to who was on board," the NATO official said.
"We assess the Russian pilots’ behaviour as safe and professional," he said.