MOSCOW, September 7. /TASS/. A Russian MiG-29 fighter jet was scrambled to escort a British reconnaissance aircraft over the Barents Sea, Russia’s National Defense Management Center reported on Monday.
According to the Center, Russian airspace control systems detected an aerial target over the neutral waters of the Barents Sea approaching Russia’s state border. "A MiG-29 fighter from the Northern Fleet’s air defense quick reaction alert forces were scrambled to identify the targets," the Center said. "The crew of the Russian fighter approached the aerial target at a safe distance and identified it as a British Air Force RC-135 strategic reconnaissance plane."
The Russian border was not violated. After the British plane moved away from Russia’s state border, the Russian fighter safely returned to its home airfield.
"The entire flight of the Russian MiG-29 fighter proceeded in strict compliance with the international rules of using the airspace," the Center stressed.
It was the third such case over the Barents Sea during the day. The Center reported earlier in the day that a Russian MiG-31 fighter jet of the Russian Northern Fleet had intercepted a Norwegian Orion patrol aircraft. Later in the day, a MiG-29 fighter escorted a British R.1 Sentinel reconnaissance plane.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on September 5 that NATO’s reconnaissance activity near Russia’s aerial borders had increased by more than 30% as compared with the previous year. Thus, in his words, 87 such flights were reported in August 2019, whereas in August 2020 there were around 120 of them.