Two Dutch warplanes intercepted three Russian military planes over the Polish territory of Kaliningrad and escorted them outside NATO territory
In the hours before the NATO meeting in Brussels, two Dutch F-35 fighter jets intercepted three Russian military planes over the Polish territory of Kaliningrad and escorted them outside NATO territory. The Netherlands maintains military security elements in Poland to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank, including eight F-35 fighters, of which this squadron is a part.
“The formation of three Russian military aircraft, which had not been identified until then, were approaching NATO Polish territory from Kaliningrad,” the Dutch Defense Ministry statement reported. “After identification, it turned out to be three aircraft: a Russian IL-20M Coot-A escorted by two Su-27 Flankers,” he reports. “Dutch F-35s handed over escort to NATO partners”. The Russian Defense Ministry has not responded to requests for information.
Kaliningrad is a Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea coast, located between NATO and EU members Poland and Lithuania. It is one of Putin’s strategic points on European territory and has a unique port in the Baltic, extremely valuable because it does not freeze in winter and where Russia anchors warships. In mid-June 2022, Vilnius and Vienna blocked the transit of coal, metals and technological tools that supply the Kaliningrad region, in compliance with EU sanctions.
Last week, the Polish Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Kaminski, also announced the suspension until further notice of the traffic of all types of goods across the border with Belarus “for security reasons” and suspicions that dual-use goods could be coming across that border to Kaliningrad. Poland has also begun building a 210-kilometre fence along its border with the Russian oblast, a triple row of barbed wire with which it hopes to “seal the border” while its army sapper corps begins telemetry work to the construction of a permanent border wall on that border “of the same type as the one that exists on the border between Poland and Belarus.”
The Lithuanian Defense Minister, Arvydas Anusauskas, already warned in December that in Kaliningrad “there are still Russian nuclear weapons” and that “the level of threat is changing, but it does not disappear” and has justified preparing “for the worst”.