- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 18, 2014

NATO fighter jets were scrambled Wednesday to intercept unidentified aircraft over the Baltics. Royal Air Force Typhoons deployed as part of NATO’s Baltics Air Policing mission soon identified the “zombie” aircraft: Russians.

A Tupolev Tu-22M “Backfire” bomber, four Sukhoi Su-27 “Flanker” fighters, one Beriev A50 ‘Mainstay’ early warning aircraft and an Antonov An-26 ‘Curl’ transport aircraft,” were escorted until they were well into international airspace, The Aviationist reported Wednesday.

The incident follows a pattern for the Russians. In April, RAF pilots had to escort Russian aircraft out of airspace near the British Isles off Scotland.

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On June 4, Russian jets also had to be shadowed by U.S. F-22 fighter jets when they flew off the coast of Alaska and California. Five Russian planes flew into the U.S. Air Defense Identification Zone, which extends 200 miles from the North American coast, CNN reported.

Last week, NATO officials were also surprised when Russian marines, paratroopers, and long-range bombers showed up to U.S.-led exercises with Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.