Russian war planes intercepted by Portuguese fighter jets

Wednesday October 29 saw NATO on high alert all over Europe as Russian war planes invaded Portuguese, Norwegian and Turkish air space, and in UK an unresponsive Russian-built cargo plane on an apparent uncharted course for London sparked moments of panic.
While the incident in UK seems to have been prompted by unwitting pilots failing to change radio frequencies as they crossed the English Channel, the others mark a new level of intensity of the “cat and mouse game” that the Russians are currently playing over European airspace.
As TV commentators point out, the heightened military activity is almost certainly a case of Russian President Vladimir Putin “flexing his muscles”.
The Russians are seen to be “hurting” as a result of the trade embargo imposed due to their activity in Ukraine, and these “unusual manoeuvres” over NATO airspace are viewed as Russian’s attempt to show it is still very much a superpower.
For Portugal, the alert came when two of the Russian Tupolev-95 bombers invading international airspace were detected over the Atlantic, to the west of the mainland.
Elsewhere, another four Russian war planes were being tracked by NATO which authorised the scrambling of fighter planes from UK, Norway, Turkey and Portugal.
The Portuguese F-16s took over from English counterparts to guide Russian bombers back into Russian airspace.
According to The Aviationist military plane-tracking blog, a total of 19 Russian military planes were intercepted yesterday, and NATO is “getting worried” by the “unusual level of Russian air activity”.
Meantime, Portugal’s Defence Minister Aguiar-Branco told reporters the Portuguese F-16s were always “on standby” at their base at Monte Real in Leiria.
The NATO scrambling system “works”, he maintained.
Talking to Lusa while on an official trip to Bogotá, Aguiar Branco added that the Russian planes were not technically over Portuguese airspace, rather they had invaded space “under national jurisdiction”.
“The situation will be the object of evaluation now by NATO,” he told reporters. “And NATO will decide the measures necessary to stem these kinds of situations.
“What is important to show is that the system works,” he stressed.