A North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) F-16 fighter jet tracked three Russian aircraft over the Baltic Sea on Wednesday when the aircraft did not initially identify itself, a NATO official confirmed to American Military News. This is standard procedure, and the F-16 jet broke away once identification was complete.
However, Russian media painted a different picture, saying the NATO jet was “nosey” and that a Russian Su-27 came in to chase it off.
A state-sponsored Russian media outlet reported that when the NATO aircraft approached, a Russian Su-27 “warned” off the F-16.
Russia Insider posted that the jet “[scared] off nosey NATO F-16.”
Russia Insider also mocked the F-16, saying it “looks downright puny with the two-engine Russian fighter showing off its missiles just a plane length behind it.”
NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu tweeted that “NATO jets scrambled to identify Russian planes which didn’t respond to traffic control. Standard procedure.”
“NATO can confirm that three Russian aircraft, including two fighters, were tracked over the Baltic Sea,” the NATO official said. “As the aircraft did not identify themselves or respond to air traffic control, NATO fighter jets scrambled to identify them, according to standard procedure.”
“Once identification of the aircraft was complete, our jets broke away as it is standard procedure,” the official added. “NATO has no information as to who was on board.”
On Tuesday, an armed Russian jet got within five feet of a U.S. Air Force recon jet over the Baltic Sea.
This came just one day after Russia vowed to “target” U.S. aircraft, after the U.S. Navy shot down a Syrian aircraft that was attacking rebel forces who were fighting ISIS.
NATO routinely monitors aircraft that enter into neutral air space.
“NATO Air Policing is a collective task and a purely defensive mission which involves the 24/7 presence of fighter interceptor aircraft, which are ready to react quickly to violations and infringements,” according to NATO’s website.