MOSCOW, September 8. /TASS/. A Russian MiG-29 fighter jet of the Northern Fleet was scrambled to escort a Norwegian Orion patrol aircraft approaching the Russian border over the Barents Sea, Russia’s National Defense Control Center reported on Tuesday.
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 was scrambled to intercept the targets," the center said. "The crew of the Russian fighter approached the aerial target at a safe distance, identified it as a Norwegian Air Force P-3C Orion patrol plane and escorted it over the Barents Sea."
The Russian border was not violated. After the Norwegian plane turned 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.
Interceptions over the Barents Sea
It was the fourth such incident over the Barents Sea over the past two days. On Monday, the center reported that a Russian MiG-31 fighter jet of the Russian Northern Fleet had intercepted a Norwegian Orion patrol aircraft. Apart from that, MiG-29 fighters escorted British R.1 Sentinel and RC-135 reconnaissance planes.
Moreover, Russian MiG-31 fighters were scrambled to escort Norwegian Orion aircraft over the Barents Sea three times last week.
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.