FIGHTER jets have been scrambled by NATO to intercept three Russian military aircraft in dramatic scenes close to the Polish border.
The Dutch F-35s took off after several Russian planes were seen close to the Kaliningrad enclave which borders Poland and Lithuania.
1NATO F-35 fighter jets have been scrambled to intercept Russian warplanesIn a statement, the Netherlands’ Defence Ministry said: “The then unknown aircraft approached the Polish NATO area of responsibility from Kaliningrad.
“After identification, it turned out to be three aircraft: a Russian IL-20M Coot-A that was escorted by two Su-27 Flankers.
“The Dutch F-35s escorted the formation from a distance and handed over the escort to NATO partners.”
Il-20M Coot-A is NATO’s reporting name for the Russian Ilyushin Il-20M reconnaissance aircraft while the Su-27 Flankers are NATO’s reporting name for the Sukhoi Su-28 fighter aircraft.
Some eight Dutch F-35s are stationed in Poland until the end of March.
It comes amid fears Vladimir Putin is preparing for a massive new offensive in the coming weeks to coincide with the first anniversary of the war on February 24.
Ukraine has been monitoring the military build-up as they continue to plea for Western support – including during Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit last week to London.
Zelensky hailed the UK for its support, but warned it may not be enough, and called for modern fighter planes.
The new assault is feared to be “much bigger” than the first wave which stormed across the country towards Kyiv almost exactly one year ago.
Russia is believed to be massing 1,800 tanks, 3,950 armoured vehicles, 400 fighter jets and 300 helicopters for the attack, according to a Ukrainian official.
On the border with Kaliningrad, tensions are growing between Russia and the European Union.
Poland is building an electronic fence at its border with Kaliningrad Oblast, over fears Russia and Belarus will help migrants across to try and destabilise Europe.
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk