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NATO spy flights along Russian borders surge by one-third - defense minister

"There were 87 flights last August and now there are about 120," Sergei Shoigu said

KUBINKA /outside Moscow/, September 5. /TASS/. NATO’s surveillance missions next to Russian borders have soared by more than 30% compared to 2019, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told reporters on Saturday after the Army Games - 2020 had ended.

"The North Atlantic Alliance’s nations have recently intensified their intelligence activities. The intensity of use of NATO surveillance aircraft close to Russian borders has increased by more than 30% in comparison to last year. There were 87 flights last August and now there are about 120," Shoigu said.

The minister said that on August 23 through September 2, the Russian Aerospace Forces scrambled their jets at least ten times to intercept spy planes over the Baltic, Barents and Black Seas.

On Saturday, the Northern Fleet’s MiG-31 fighters were scrambled to intercept the Orion maritime patrol aircraft of the Royal Norwegian Air Force for the third day in a row. On Friday, the Russian radars detected three B-52N strategic bombers of the US Air Force, which were approaching Russia’s sovereign airspace in the south. Four Su-27 and four Su-30 fighter jets were scrambled to intercept the bombers over the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.