NATO showcases flight interceptions over Baltics (Photo)
NATO held a practice drill to work out interceptions of Russian aircraft in allied airspace.
Violations of NATO airspace over the Baltics have fallen since Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014, but air activity on allied borders remains constant as jets fly from the Russian mainland across the Baltic Sea to Kaliningrad, Reuters reports.
"They are present more or less everyday," German air force Lieutenant General Klaus Habersetzer, who runs NATO's northern European air policing command, told Reuters on Tuesday while flying over the Baltics.
During the simulations, NATO pilots from Britain, France, Belgium, and Denmark carrying air-to-air missiles took turns to simulate the interception of a Belgian air force transporter - playing the role of a Russian plane - en route to Lithuania, performing visual inspections of the aircraft's status.
With U.S. President Donald Trump regularly accusing Europe of not spending enough on defense, the air commanders hope such displays can highlight how NATO's planes are helping to protect the continent.