NATO Allies Sweden and Finland Report Airspace Violation by Russia

Amidst a significant alliance exercise in the area, the newest members of NATO, Sweden, and Finland, have reported separate airspace breaches by Russian military jets.

According to a statement from the Swedish armed forces, a JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft was scrambled on the afternoon of June 14. This action was taken in response to a Russian Su-24 tactical bomber entering restricted airspace near the southern point of the important Baltic Sea island of Gotland.

According to Henrik Nystrom, the press secretary for the Swedish armed forces, the Gripen blocked the jet after it failed to answer and continued its route into Swedish airspace.

According to Maj. Gen. Jonas Wikman, head of Sweden’s Air Force, the day after the incident, the interceptor was able to catch the Russian military jet after it had flown approximately three miles into Swedish airspace.  The Swedish official didn’t name the model of the Russian jet but called it a reconnaissance jet, which led many to believe that it was a Su-24MR.

This was the first known Russian breach of Swedish airspace since it joined NATO.

Four Russian planes were engaged in an airspace infraction near Loviisa in the Gulf of Finland, according to the Finnish Border Guard.

Two Russian fighter jets and two Russian bombers briefly entered Finnish airspace, triggering the incident. This is the first known instance of Russian aircraft violating Finnish airspace since Finland became a member of NATO. 

The Russian Defense Ministry released a video of a four-plane patrol over the northern seas on June 10. Russian military and naval aviation Su-27, Su-30SM, and Su-33 aircraft escorted strategic bombers Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 from an airfield. Foreign fighter fighters sometimes joined the long-range bombers. All activities, which might last six hours, followed international airspace rules.

The Russia-Ukraine war has dragged on for two years, and ties between Moscow and NATO member states have remained tense. This is because NATO members have sanctioned the Russian economy and are now targeting its lifelines, such as China.