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Russian planes “exceptionally active” over Baltic

The Finnish Air Force has released photos of Russian military aircraft over the Gulf of Finland in the past few days.

Tupolev Tu-95.
Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bomber Image: Puolustusvoimat

Russian military flights over the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea have been “exceptionally active” in recent days, the Finnish Air Force said on Tuesday.

The period of high activity began on Saturday, Finnish Independence Day, and has continued into this week. Finland’s airspace has not been violated, the Air Force says.

The flights have mostly been between bases in mainland Russia and the small Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, which is located between Lithuania and Poland. The aircraft involved include bombers, fighter jets and transport planes. Models include Tu-95, Tu-22M, Su-34, Su-27, Su-24 and MiG-31 planes as well as a variety of transport aircraft.

The Finnish Air Force has raised its monitoring of the area, including reconnaissance flights. Hornet fighter jets have flown to identify all significant flight detachments.

"Nothing particularly dramatic"

Petri Tolla, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Command, says the reason for the uptick in activity over the Baltic is unknown. He says that in general there have been more flights this autumn than usual.

“There is nothing particularly dramatic about this,” he says. “This is a continuation of activity so far this year.”

Tolla notes that the Air Force does not usually make announcements in such cases, but decided in this case that it was appropriate to do so.

In August, Russian state-owned planes made three incursions into Finnish airspace within a week, spurring sharp condemnation by Finland’s prime minister and defence minister. There were also two violations in May.

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