World

Russia's increased military air activity in Baltic region poses risk to aviation

  • FILE - This is a Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014 file photo of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as he addresses the media after meeting with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, at the European External Action Service (EEAS) building in Brussels. Stoltenbeg said Thursday Nov. 20. 2014 that Russia's increased military activity in the skies above the Baltic region is "unjustified" and poses a risk to civil aviation because aircraft regularly fail to file flight plans or communicate with air controllers. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe, File)

    FILE - This is a Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014 file photo of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as he addresses the media after meeting with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, at the European External Action Service (EEAS) building in Brussels. Stoltenbeg said Thursday Nov. 20. 2014 that Russia's increased military activity in the skies above the Baltic region is "unjustified" and poses a risk to civil aviation because aircraft regularly fail to file flight plans or communicate with air controllers. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Portuguese military fighter jet, left, and a Canadian military fighter jet participating in NATO's Baltic Air Policing Mission operate in Lithuanian airspace, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. NATO, which has 16 fighter jets in the region monitoring Baltic airspace, said it regularly launches jets to identify "unknown or potentially hostile aircraft" in the proximity of national airspace. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

    A Portuguese military fighter jet, left, and a Canadian military fighter jet participating in NATO's Baltic Air Policing Mission operate in Lithuanian airspace, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. NATO, which has 16 fighter jets in the region monitoring Baltic airspace, said it regularly launches jets to identify "unknown or potentially hostile aircraft" in the proximity of national airspace. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)  (The Associated Press)

NATO's chief says Russia's increased military activity in the skies above the Baltic region is "unjustified" and poses a risk to civil aviation because aircraft regularly fail to file flight plans or communicate with air controllers.

Jens Stoltenberg says alliance fighters have intercepted planes more than 100 times in the region so far this year, a threefold increase on 2013.

During a visit to an air base in NATO-member Estonia on Thursday, Stoltenberg said the alliance "should stay vigilant" because of Russia's increased "military air activity," even though most flights occurred in international airspace.

NATO, which has 16 fighter jets in the region monitoring Baltic airspace, says it regularly launches jets to identify "unknown or potentially hostile aircraft" in the proximity of national airspace.