Dutch F-35s intercept three Russian military aircraft over Poland — Netherlands’ defense ministry

MOSCOW (Reuters): Two Dutch F-35 fighters intercepted a formation of three Russian military aircraft over Poland and escorted them out, the Netherlands’ defense ministry said in a statement late on Monday.

“The then unknown aircraft approached the Polish NATO area of responsibility from Kaliningrad,” according to Reuters’ translation of the ministry’s statement.

Kaliningrad is a Russian Baltic coast enclave located between NATO and European Union members Poland and Lithuania.

“After identification, it turned out to be three aircraft: a Russian IL-20M Coot-A that was escorted by two Su-27 Flankers. The Dutch F-35s escorted the formation from a distance and handed over the escort to NATO partners.”

The Il-20M Coot-A is NATO’s reporting name for the Russian Ilyushin Il-20M reconnaissance aircraft while the Su-27 Flankers are NATO’s reporting name for the Sukhoi Su-28 fighter aircraft.

Russia’s defense ministry did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for a comment.

The Netherlands’ defense ministry said that eight Dutch F-35s are stationed in Poland for February and March.