THE HAGUE, Netherlands – The Dutch defense ministry says two of its F-16 fighter jets taking part in a NATO mission to protect the skies above the Baltics have intercepted a Russian military transport plane.
The ministry said Thursday the Russian plane was intercepted Wednesday evening after it flew into international airspace north of Estonia and Lithuania without giving a flight plan. The F-16s escorted the plane out of the Baltic airspace.
The Russian Defense Ministry says an Il-76 military transport plane flew from the northwestern city of Pskov to Russia's westernmost Kaliningrad exclave over the Baltics in "strict accordance with international rules of using airspace."
Dutch F-16s taking part in NATO's Air Policing Task Force are based in Malbork, Poland. Wednesday was the first time they have been scrambled to intercept a plane.