Two Russian fighter jets and a spy plane flying close to Nato airspace have been intercepted by the RAF.
Eurofighter typhoons from the RAF’s IX(B) squadron and the German Air Force’s 71 Richtofen Wing were scrambled to visually identify and intercept the jets as they flew over the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland.
One of them was a Russian Air Force IL-20 Coot-A intelligence aircraft flying from mainland Russia to the Kaliningrad enclave near Poland.
The others were two Russian SU-27 Flanker-B fighter jets based in Kaliningrad.
One image shows one of the Russian Su-27 jets gliding through the air just metres away from an RAF plane.
An RAF pilot from IX (B) Squadron said: “We often see Russian military aircraft flying over the Baltic Sea and so this was a routine intercept for us.
“Nevertheless, the importance of intercepting these aircraft and our commitment to the collective defence of Nato airspace remains steadfast and resolute.
“What this intercept has proven is that together with our German allies, we are able to act with speed and decisiveness to effectively ensure the Alliance’s security.”
Wing Commander Maccoll, Commanding Officer of 140 Expeditionary Air Wing, said: “This was another demonstration of our readiness and commitment to react at speed to conduct a live intercept.
“These combined RAF and German Air Force intercepts continue to enhance Nato cohesion, ensuring seamless cooperation and understanding during these missions.
“Our allies and partners in the region should remain assured that Nato is here to stay, and the UK continues its commitment to collective defence of Nato Airspace.”
The RAF and German Air Force are working to protect the eastern flank of Nato’s border as part of Operation Azotize, and have been doing so as a combined force since the beginning of March.
The intercept is the fifth joint one that the forces have conducted together.
They are operating Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets out of Amari Air Base in Estonia as a combined force.