British air force jets in Estonia intercept Russian jets

LONDON (AP) - Britain's Royal Air Force said Monday that two of its jets deployed in Estonia have been scrambled twice in recent days to intercept Russian aircraft.

The RAF said the incidents brought the number of intercepts of Russian planes to eight since taking over the Baltic Air Policing mission in May.

There was no comment from Russia on the claim, but the defense ministry said it scrambled Su-27 fighter jets to intercept U.S. B-52 bombers that were approaching the Russian border from the Baltic and Black Seas.

The British Typhoon jets were alerted Friday to intercept a Russian Su-30 Flanker fighter, and passed a Russian military transport craft as it was escorting the fighter over the Baltic Sea.

On Saturday, RAF crews intercepted a Su-30 Flanker fighter and an Ilyushin Il-76 Candid transport aircraft traveling north from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad toward Estonian and Finnish airspace. The RAF escorted the aircraft for 15 minutes before handing over responsibility to Finnish aircraft on the airspace boundary.

The Russian Defense Ministry said over the weekend its Baltic Fleet assets were monitoring NATO military drills in the Baltics.

Its statement Monday about the interception of U.S. bombers didn't give precise locations for the incidents or say how many planes were involved.