Dutch F-35s Intercept Russian Aircraft Near Polish Airspace
Dutch F-35 fighter jets intercepted three Russian military aircraft near Polish airspace on Monday, the Dutch Defense Ministry confirmed. The Royal Netherlands Air Force’s (RNLAF) two F-35 fighter aircraft identified the planes as an Ilyushin IL-20M Coot-A, accompanied by two Sukhoi Su-27 Flankers. At a distance, the Dutch F-35s escorted the formation and then passed the responsibility of escorting to NATO partners.
The interception of Russian aircraft comes as NATO defense ministers meet in Brussels today and tomorrow to coordinate weapons supplies for Ukraine and discuss the threat posed by spy balloons. NATO's secretary general Jens Stoltenberg warned that the Russian offensive has already begun.
Ukraine is desperate for supplies now that Russia has started a spring offensive, and has appealed to Western countries for fighter jets. Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov showed reporters an image of a fighter jet when asked what his country needed, and when asked where he hoped they might come from, said only: “From the sky.”
The F-35s are based at Malbork, with half of them doing air policing in the Baltic Sea and four units used for exercises and training. Of the total deployed aircraft, four jets operate out of Malbork Air Base, Poland, to carry out surveillance duties over the Eastern Europe region to safeguard NATO airspace.
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