Three Russian fighter planes tested Poland’s sovereign boundaries on Monday, according to the Dutch Defense Ministry.
“The then unknown aircraft approached the Polish NATO area of responsibility from Kaliningrad,” the ministry said in its statement, translated by Reuters. Kalliningrad, a Russian town, is located between Poland and Lithuania, both of whom are members in NATO and in the European Union.
Eight Dutch F-35s are stationed in Poland for the months of February and March, the ministry said.
A Russian IL-20M Coot-A reconnaissance and signals plane, plus two SU-27 Flanker warplanes were intercepted by Dutch F-35 stealth fighter jets as they approached Poland’s airspace, the ministry said.
The Dutch aircraft, tasked with monitoring NATO airspace and “air policing,” were scrambled from Malbork Air Base in northern Poland.
The Russian planes were escorted “from a distance” by the Dutch aircraft, which “handed over the escort to NATO partners,” the ministry said.
German Eurofighters then shadowed the Russian aircraft, “who were posing a danger to air users by ignoring international air safety rules,” NATO Air Command said Monday in a statement.