NATO intercepts Russian jets near Estonia as Putin prepares military buildup

Spanish and Finnish fighter jets were sent to intercept three Russian planes flying near Estonian air space on Tuesday, the NATO military alliance said in a statement.

The Russian airplanes were identified as two MiG-31 jets and one Antonov AN-26 transport aircraft, NATO said.

“Two Spanish F-18 jets assigned to NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission scrambled from Estonia’s Amari Air Base,” NATO said.

“Finnish jets also scrambled to intercept the aircraft.”

Intercepts of Russian aircraft by NATO have increased in recent years amid heightened tensions between the West and Moscow over Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine crisis.

Russia is preparing send as many as 100,000 troops to the eastern edge of NATO territory at the end of the summer, one of the biggest steps yet in the military buildup undertaken by President Vladimir Putin and an exercise in intimidation that recalls the most ominous days of the Cold War.

Read More at the Sydney Morning Herald.