Russian fighter jets chased off a NATO warplane that approached an aircraft carrying Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, according to the Tass news service.
Shoigu’s plane was flying in neutral waters over the Baltic Sea to Moscow from Russia’s Kaliningrad region when the F-18 fighter tried to approach, the state-run Tass reported, citing its correspondent on board the minister’s aircraft. Two Su-27 fighters escorting the plane intervened to drive away the North Atlantic Treaty Organization fighter, it said.
It’s at least the second time Shoigu has been involved in such an incident amid tensions between Russia and the western military alliance. In 2017, he was also flying from Kaliningrad over the Baltic when a NATO F-16 fighter approached his plane and was chased away by the minister’s escort, Russian news agencies reported. NATO said its fighter was not chased away and had been sent to track a group of Russian planes that failed to identify themselves, and it had no knowledge about who was on board.