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Four Russian fighter jets are intercepted after flying into Polish air space

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 05/10/2022 David Averre For Mailonline

Four Russian fighter jets were intercepted and forced to return to base after they infringed on Polish air space, according to Italy's air force.

Aeronautica Militare announced that the squadron took off from the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania, and flew an aggressive path which took them through Polish skies - though the post did not specify when the infringement occurred.

The offending jets then continued over the Baltic Sea before heading towards Sweden.  

Italy quickly scrambled four Eurofighter Typhoon jets in response which took off from Poland's Malbork air base and intercepted the Russian aircraft, 'forcing' them to return back to Kaliningrad. 

The air force said the Russian jets also infringed on Swedish air space, but this claim was denied by the Swedish Armed Forces' press service which said Putin's aircraft were merely over international waters.

Rome's planes were stationed in Poland as part of NATO air policing mission this summer. 

Poland is a long-time member of NATO having joined in 1999, while Sweden earlier this year applied for membership to the security bloc alongside Nordic neighbour Finland. 

The unsettling sortie by Russia's fighter jets comes as fighting continues to rage in eastern and southern Ukraine, with Russian president Vladimir Putin having made a series of nuclear threats to the West as his troops retreat in the face of Ukrainian counteroffensives.

Eurofighter Typhoon jets are pictured preparing for take-off to intercept Russian jets that had infringed on Polish airspace according to Italy's air force

Eurofighter Typhoon jets are pictured preparing for take-off to intercept Russian jets that had infringed on Polish airspace according to Italy's air force
© Provided by Daily Mail

Italian jet fighters are currently stationed in Poland as part of the Baltic Air Policing operation, which is an expression of the solidarity of NATO countries with Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, i.e. those countries of the Alliance that do not have their own military aviation. 

Permanent air policing is a mandatory procedure, so in this case the task of guarding the sky is shared by NATO allies who take turns running operations on three-month rotations.

Kaliningrad is a Russian province which lies between Poland and Lithuania. 

It was founded in 1255 as Koenigsberg, capital of East Prussia and remained a German city for centuries until it was captured by Stalin's Red Army during WWII.

The Soviet Union renamed the city Kaliningrad in 1946 and later evicted its German population, claiming the territory as its own. 

The exclave is now home to almost a million Russians and is a heavily militarised region. 

Putin earlier this year threatened to send nuclear weapons to Kaliningrad while Russian officials warned of 'consequences with a serious negative impact' to the population of Lithuania after the EU and NATO member state decided to block Moscow from sending EU-sanctioned goods to the isolated Russian territory.

Italian jet fighters are currently stationed in Poland as part of the Baltic Air Policing operation © Provided by Daily Mail Italian jet fighters are currently stationed in Poland as part of the Baltic Air Policing operation Russia in August deployed several MiG-31-K fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles - which can be equipped with nuclear warheads - to its European exclave of Kaliningrad © Provided by Daily Mail Russia in August deployed several MiG-31-K fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles - which can be equipped with nuclear warheads - to its European exclave of Kaliningrad

It is unclear which kind of Russian planes prompted the Eurofighters to intervene earlier today, but Moscow's defence ministry announced in August that several MiG-31 fighter jets were dispatched to Kaliningrad.

The specially modified MiG-31K variants can carry Kinzhal or 'Dagger' hypersonic missiles, which can be armed with nuclear warheads and fly at 12 times the speed of sound.

Kaliningrad's location has put it in the forefront of Moscow's efforts to counter what it described as NATO's hostile policies. 

The Kremlin has methodically bolstered its military forces there, arming them with state-of-the-art weapons, including precision-guided Iskander missiles and an array of air defence systems.

Meanwhile in Ukraine, Russia's frontline continues to collapse, particularly in the southern region of Kherson with dozens of towns liberated in a matter of hours, according to sources on both sides of the conflict.

Kyiv said its troops are 'confidently advancing to the sea' as videos showed the city of Davydiv Brid under their control along with a clutch of smaller settlements in the surrounding countryside. 

Pro-Russian military bloggers said their forces had retreated around 10 miles down the Dnipro River as the entire northern end of their territory west of the river fell into Ukrainian hands.

It comes just days after President Vladimir Putin declared the Kherson region - along with three others - to be part of Russia, vowing they would belong to Moscow 'forever'. 

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