Moscow said Monday it had dispatched a fighter jet over the Baltic Sea to escort a German reconnaissance plane that Russia’s defence ministry said was approaching its border.
The announcement came hours German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht resigned after months of criticism over Berlin’s stuttering response to the war in Ukraine as well as a series of gaffes.
The Russian defence ministry said in a statement it had deployed an Su-27 fighter to “identify an air target and prevent violation of the state border” earlier in the day.
It said it encountered a German P-3 Orion military reconnaissance plane and “escorted it over the Baltic Sea” until the plane changed its course towards Russia’s border.
“The Russian fighter’s flight was carried out in strict accordance with international rules over the use of airspace over neutral waters, without crossing air routes or dangerously approaching an aircraft of a foreign state,” the defence ministry added.
Lambrecht’s move comes days before the Ukraine Defence Contact Group, which coordinates arms supplies to Kyiv, is due to meet at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.