A NATO F-16 Tailed the Russian Defense Minister Over the Baltic
A Russian Su-27 chased off the Polish jet
A NATO F-16 intercepted Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu’s plane as it was flying over the Baltic Sea on June 21, 2017. As the F-16 drew close to Shoigu’s Tu-154, a Russian Su-27 fighter moved to intervene.
As footage released by Zvezda reveals, the armed F-16 — probably a Polish air force Block 52+ supporting the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission in Lithuania — shadowed the Tu-154, possibly the aircraft with the registration RA-85686, as it was transporting the defense minister to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.
The arrival of the armed Su-27 compelled the F-16 to put some distance between it and the Tu-154 … and eventually depart the area.
Such close encounters occur quite frequently in the Baltic region. The Russian defense ministry claimed that, on June 20, a U.S. Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance plane aggressively maneuvered near a Russian fighter over the Baltic. At the same time, the ministry added, a Russian fighter intercepted a second RC-135 in the same area.