NATO Official: Russian Jet Acted ‘Unsafe’ in Confronting NATO Fighter

NATO fighter was moving against a Russian transport plane with top official on board

A NATO military official issued a statement regarding a Tuesday interaction between a NATO (Spanish) and Russian warplane, condemning Russia’s jet for acting in an “unsafe manner,” and claiming it was only the “professionalism” of NATO that prevented a dangerous situation.

NATO complaining about Russian planes is nothing new, but in this situation it is probably inappropriate because the Spanish F-18 confronted the Russian planes, including a passenger aircraft, in international airspace.

NATO concedes the aircraft, a Tu-214, had a “valid flight plan” and had already identified itself. The Russian Su-27 fighters, one of whom intercepted the F-18, did not have a flight plan.

Which, of course they didn’t, because those planes were just escorting the Tu-214 back toward Russia. The plane had Defense Minister Sergey Shogu on board, and the jets were just making sure NATO didn’t attack the defense minister or try to shoot his plane down.

NATO claimed the planes are routinely sent out when they see someone without a flight plan, which the Tu-214 had, and indeed this is the second time in the past couple of years that NATO warplanes have gone after the Russian DMs plane, so clearly that’s something Russian military aircraft are on the lookout for.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.