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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Russian bombers spark NATO scramble, protest in Baltic

Tu-22 BlinderNATO jets were scrambled Tuesday to escort Russian fighters and nuclear-capable bombers flying near the Baltic states and Sweden with their transponders switched off, sparking protests over the danger they posed to civil aviation.

Lithuania's defence ministry spokeswoman Asta Galdikaite said NATO air policing aircraft identified two Tu-22 type bombers and two SU-27 jets. The Swedish military also confirmed the aircraft showed up on their ground radar.

"The flights conducted with switched-off on-board transponders are among other things a risk to civil aviation as such flights are not visible on civil air traffic control radars," she told AFP.

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