4 RAF Typhoons sent in the Baltic
Tensions are rising with Russia. Ukraine and Crimea are shedding light on rising tensions with Russia, and as a result, European countries are following up on escalating steps. Only last week Typhoons based at RAF Leuchars in Fife intercepted two Russian bombers flying in international airspace off Scotland. The jets were sent to investigate the Russian planes which are understood to have turned away shortly afterwards. The MoD said fighter planes were scrambled to similar incidents eight times last year. That’s a bit too much. And one must ask what the Russians are playing at. Also, as a result, some countries have scrambled jets to the Baltic and towards Crimea and Ukraine, to be prepared for the worse. Last week, the French dispatched a few jets. Now, it’s Britain’s turn. The Typhoons and six Polish jets will take over from a US squadron to patrol the alliance’s eastern flanks. The long-standing rotation of Nato military jets in Lithuania has recently been stepped up in response to rising tensions with Russia over Ukraine. The UK government said the move would provide reassurance to Nato allies. The Typhoons will leave their base at RAF Coningsby on Monday morning and be joined by more than 100 RAF support staff in Lithuania. The Typhoons’ role over the Baltic states, which rely on Nato for fast jet support, will be similar. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said the RAF fighters would provide reassurance to Nato allies at a time of heightened concern about Russia whose jets, the Pentagon has said, have already encroached into Ukraine’s airspace.