The Swedish Air Force and NATO jets on Tuesday tracked four Russian combat aircraft flying with their transponders turned off over the Baltic Sea, officials said.
The Russian planes — two long-range, nuclear-capable Tu-22M3 bombers and two Sukhoi Su-27 fighters — were flying in international airspace, according to Sweden’s Armed Forces and alliance sources.
NATO said it scrambled Danish jets and Italian jets based in Lithuania early Tuesday to identify the Russian aircraft which it said were heading to the Russian Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad.
“The Russian military aircraft did not use their onboard transponder; they were not in contact with civilian Air Traffic Control and they were not on a pre-filed flight plan,” a NATO military officer said on condition he not be identified by name in keeping with alliance practice.
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