Amid heightened tensions between the U.S. led coalition and Russia in the air over Syria, a NATO F-16 fighter attempted to intercept a jet, believed to be a Tu-154, carrying Russia’s Defense Minister, Sergey Shoygu, over the Baltic Sea in Northeast Europe.
According to reports, the F-16, which may belong to the Polish Air Force, approached the aircraft initially, but was warned away by an armed Su-27 fighter jet that was escorting the Russian official’s aircraft.
NATO has not yet made an official statement regarding the interaction, but according to Russian journalists traveling with the Defense Minister, the aircraft was flying over international waters en route to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad to meet with government officials about Russia’s defenses on the Western Flank.
As the NATO F-16 approached, one of possibly multiple Su-27s flying in escort positions placed itself between the approaching fighter and the government jet. Once clearly within the eyeline of the F-16, the Su-27 pilot reportedly tilted his aircraft to show the NATO fighter that it was armed. Approximately a minute after that brief interaction, the F-16 departed the area.