NATO forces intercept Russian bombers miles from U.S. convoy

In this file photo taken in this 2002 shows a Russian Su-24 medium-range bomber, known by NATO as "Fencer," flies somewhere at undisclosed location in Russia. (AP Photo/File)

NATO forces intercepted Russian bombers and fighter jets as the warplanes flew over the Baltic Sea. Only 12 miles away, a U.S. military Stryker convoy was leaving Lithuania to make its way to Poland.

According to the International Business Times, the Russian warplanes were detected last week, flying at supersonic speeds and refusing to respond to calls from air traffic control. One of the bombers was allegedly flying in the direction of Denmark, which raised red flags as Russia had threatened to aim nuclear missiles at the country.

Shortly before the incident, Russia had told Denmark that it would become a target if the country decided to join NATO’s missile defense program. Denmark has been considering giving its naval radar systems to the program as a way for NATO to detect and intercept data.

When the Russian aircraft did not respond to air traffic control, they also refused to reveal their intended flight path while in international airspace and maintained radio silence. NATO was forced to alert and deploy Italian Typhoon fighters patrolling the area to intercept the Russian bombers.

The International Business Times reported that U.S. Army soldiers, along with the Stryker convoy, were in the area as part of Operation Dragoon Ride. The group was on its fourth day of a 1,100 mile trek across Eastern Europe when the NATO jets intercepted the Russian warplanes.

According to Lt. Commander Frank Magallon, a U.S. European Command spokesman, the intercept was handled in a very professional manner. He confirmed that the Russian bombers were escorted by the NATO fighter jets to Kaliningrad located between Lithuania and Poland.

Magallon said NATO will continue to be vigilant in guarding and defending the region in agreement with its international commitment.

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