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NATO planes suspected of violating Finnish airspace

Finland says that two Spanish military aircraft apparently crossed into its airspace west of Helsinki during a NATO surveillance operation on Tuesday.

Kaksi Hornet-hävittäjää ilmassa.
Two Hornet F-18 jets. File photo. Image: Mircea Rosca / EPA

The Ministry of Defence reports that there was a breach of Finnish airspace on Tuesday morning. Two Spanish Hornet F-18 fighter jets are suspected of flying into Finnish airspace around 9 am. The apparent violation took place south of Upinniemi. The peninsula in Kirkkonummi, west of Helsinki, is the site of a navy base.

The Finnish Border Guard is investigating the incident, which lasted for about one minute.

The Spanish planes involved are taking part in NATO surveillance of airspace over the Baltic Sea. They are based at Ämari Air Base in Estonia, some 40 km southwest of Tallinn.

Finland and Sweden are members of NATO's Partnership for Peace, whereas the other Nordic and Baltic states are full NATO members.

The incident came just after US Vice President Mike Pence left Estonia, where he assured NATO allies of US support in case of any Russian aggression. Meanwhile Russia and China have just completed joint exercises in the Baltic – and on Tuesday the New York Times reports that Russia plans to move up to 100,000 troops near its borders with NATO states in the coming weeks.

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