A Russian Su-27 fighter jet was deployed to intercept a US B-52 strategic bomber over the Baltic Sea as the American warplane was flying along the Russian border, the Russian Defense Ministry reports.

Russia’s air defense detected the aircraft on Tuesday morning at around 7:00 GMT, the statement said. The Su-27 of the Russian Baltic Fleet was deployed in response and shadowed the American aircraft after identifying it, as the bomber was flying in neutral airspace over the Baltic Sea along the border, the ministry said.

After the American warplane left the airspace near Russia, the Russian fighter jet returned to its base of deployment, the statement said.

The interception comes amid NATO’s continued string of training exercises near the Russian border. The defense block is currently conducting one of the biggest drills this year in Romania, with another to take place in Estonia. The alliance claims it is necessary to build confidence among member states in Eastern Europe and the Baltic in the face of the alleged threat from Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly criticized what it sees as growing anti-Russia hysteria in Europe and considers the military build-up near its borders a threat to its national security. It accused NATO of fearmongering to justify bigger defense spending by allies.

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