Russian military aircraft intercepted over Baltic Sea, says Germany

Germany and Britain intercepted three Russian military reconnaissance aircraft over the Baltic Sea, the German air force said on Wednesday.

Russian fighter jet
A Russian Sukhoi Su-57 fifth-generation jet fighter performs during an air show in Moscow. Photo: Dimitar DILKOFF / POOL / AFP

“Reconnaissance flights intercepted. German and British Eurofighters were alerted to identify three military aircraft. The two SU-27 Flankers and a IL-20 from Russia were flying again without transponder signals in international airspace over the Baltic Sea,” said the air force on Twitter.

Russia’s military planes regularly approach NATO airspace over the Baltic States and usually fly without responder signals, which would allow other aircraft to automatically identify them.

These approaches generally force NATO fighter jets to intercept them.

Since the states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania don’t have fighter jets of their own, the airspace over the Baltic states is protected by other members of the Alliance.

In the beginning of April, after eight months, the Bundeswehr handed over this responsibility to Great Britain, but will continue to support the UK in the Baltic region with fighter jets and personnel until the end of the month.

READ ALSO: Berlin condemns Russian nuclear weapon deployment in Belarus

According to statistics released by the NATO defensive alliance, the number of alert take-offs to intercept Russian planes almost doubled in 2022. 

Last year, fighter jets were forced to conduct emergency interceptions at least 570 times. However, NATO said this was not due to increased activity by Russian jets but rather by the increased presence on it’s eastern borders due to the war in Ukraine.

On Tuesday, Norway said it had similarly identified a group of Russian military aircraft in international airspace over the Barents Sea to the north of the country.

The aircraft included two Tu-160 Blackjack bombers, two Il-78 Midas aerial refuelling tankers and three MiG-31 Foxhound fighter jets, the air force said on Facebook.

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One dead and 20 injured after Flixbus travelling from Berlin overturns in Austria

A woman was killed and 20 people were injured after a coach travelling from the German capital Berlin to Trieste in Italy came off the road in Austria.

One dead and 20 injured after Flixbus travelling from Berlin overturns in Austria

Police said a 19-year-old Austrian woman died after the bus overturned near Micheldorf, situated between Salzburg and Vienna, in the early hours of Tuesday morning. 

A 25-year-old German woman was taken to hospital with serious injuries following the crash. A further 20 people suffered injuries. 

According to a police spokeswoman, the bus was on its way to Trieste in northern Italy. The vehicle left the road on a motorway, hit a rail and flipped over on its side. 

Photos from the scene of the accident showed that it was a double-decker from the Flixbus company.

The scene of the bus crash in Austria.

The scene of the bus crash in Austria. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/APA | Gert Eggenberger

According to initial investigations, two drivers and 40 passengers from Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Germany and Ukraine were on board, the spokeswoman said. According to police, a driver of a vehicle behind the bus alerted the emergency services. 

When they arrived, there were still injured people on the bus. They were rescued from the vehicle with the help of hydraulic equipment.

The cause of the accident remains unknown at this stage. Police said the alcohol tests carried out on the drivers were negative.  

Investigations into the crash will continue. 

READ ALSO: One dead and dozens injured after Flixbus overturns near Leipzig