RAF fighter jets intercepted six Russian bombers flying near NATO airspace over the Black Sea.
The incident is believed to have happened on Monday, August 13, and followed a night of “significant air activity”.
Reports from a Russian news agency suggest the Russian planes were diverted towards the Crimean Peninsula, thesun.co.uk reports.
The RAF confirmed that Eurofighter typhoon jets were launched early on Monday morning from their Romanian base after Russian Su-24 Fencer planes were spotted.
According to Shephard Media, the RAF intercepted following “significant Russian activity throughout most of the night”.
In a statement, the RAF said that the operation “was in accordance with the NATO Enhanced Air Policing (EAP) mission, whereby the RAF operates alongside its NATO ally to deter Russian aggression, reassure our friends in Romania and assure NATO allies of our commitment to collective defence.”
Romanian Defence Minister Mihai Fifor earlier said such “provocations” by Russia had become “frequent” in recent months.
Four RAF Typhoons have been deployed at the Mihail Kogalniceanu air base in southeast Romania where several hundred US troops are also stationed.
Russian Defence Ministry denies
Russia has denied British claims that the Royal Air Force intercepted six Russian military jets over the Black Sea, saying the incident was a lot less dramatic and didn’t feature a single Su-24 bomber mentioned in the reports.
Four aircraft from the Russian Black Sea Fleet naval aviation group carried out routine exercises above the Black Sea on Monday, the Defense Ministry spokesman told TASS, specifying that there were no Su-24 bombers in the group at all.
“After completing their flight task in the assigned area the Russian planes spotted a military aircraft of one of the NATO countries at the distance of 30 kilometers,” he said.
The NATO plane “didn’t make any maneuvers; didn’t deviate from its course and didn’t approach the Russian aircraft, which were heading back to base,” the spokesman added.