Two Russian Su-27 fighters identified and escorted the F-16 aircraft of the Belgian Air Force. This was reported by the press service of the Western military district of the Baltic Fleet.
Naval aviation crews made planned flights over the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea. The controls found an air target that was heading for the state border of the Russian Federation.
To identify it, two Su-27 fighters were sent, which provided cover in the area of combat training missions by Russian crews.
“The pilots of the Russian fighters, after approaching, identified the F-16 aircraft, its flight number, belonged to the Belgian Air Force and took it for escort,” the Baltic Fleet said.
Along with this, a video of what happened was published. The frames show how the Su-27 at high speed approaching the F-16 and accompany it.
The Ministry of Defense added that after the foreign aircraft changed the flight course from the Russian border, the fighters continued to carry out planned combat training tasks.
It is emphasized that the flights of Russian aircraft were carried out in strict accordance with the International Rules for the Use of Airspace
Russian pilots systematically escort foreign planes that are on Russian borders, military installations of the Russian Federation or near aircraft carrying the first persons of the state, while observing international rules. So, in one of the cases, foreign aircraft approached the board on which the head of the Ministry of Defense Sergey Shoigu flew.
In August 2019, an F-18 fighter of one of the NATO countries tried to approach a Russian plane with Shoigu on board, but was driven off by the efforts of pilots on the Su-27. The incident occurred in the sky above the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea. According to the defense ministry, the minister’s plane flew from Kaliningrad to Moscow, accompanied by two Su-27s.
In April, the Russian Ministry of Defense of Russia reported that on April 19 a fighter of the country's aerospace forces flew up from the Khmeimim airbase to identify an air target that was heading towards Russian targets in Syria.
The Defense Ministry published footage showing that it is clear that the North Atlantic bloc fighter was kept close to the Shoigu plane, however, after approaching the Su-27, it abruptly retired.
It should be noted that similar incidents involving foreign aircraft over the Baltic Sea occur regularly. As the commander of the Baltic Fleet’s aviation connection Vadim Morozov said in July 2019, the most common foreign aircraft approaching the borders of the Russian Federation in this region were, in particular, RC-135, B-52, UAVs RQ-4 Global Hawk, MQ-9 Reaper
He also said that more often than others in the region are US planes, but there are also aircraft from the UK, Sweden and Germany.
In addition, in July, a Su-27 fighter from the air defense duty personnel of the Southern Military District took to the air to intercept an American reconnaissance aircraft P-8A Poseidon, which was approaching Russian borders. After the appearance of the Russian fighter, the American intelligence officer immediately changed the direction of the flight from the state border of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Defense noted.
In June, the Su-27 took to the air to intercept the American and Swedish reconnaissance aircraft, which were approaching the borders of the Russian Federation from the Baltic Sea.
In the same month, the US military said that the Russian Su-35 allegedly made three “intercepts” of a US reconnaissance aircraft Boeing P-8 Poseidon over the Mediterranean Sea within an hour and a half.
According to Washington, one of the interactions was “unsafe”: a Russian fighter supposedly created a risk for pilots and crew members of American military equipment.
The Ministry of Defense denied the accusations of the American side, indicating that the flights of Russian aircraft were carried out in accordance with international rules for the use of airspace.
“There were no appeals, let alone claims, from the American center for deconflicting aviation flights in Syria to the Russian command,” the Russian defense department said then.