NATO Scrambles Jets 400 Times in 2014 as Russian Air Activity Jumps

US F-16s participating in Baltic exercise, June 13, 2014NATO warplanes have had to scramble 400 times this year in response to an increase in Russian air activity around Europe not seen since the Cold War, the alliance’s chief said on Thursday. . . .

He [NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg] said the flights – which have risen 50 percent over the last year – posed a risk to commercial air traffic.

“This pattern is risky and unjustified, so NATO remains vigilant. We are here and we are ready to defend all our allies against any threats,” Stoltenberg said in a speech after meeting Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas.

“It is a pattern which we have not seen for many years and it is a pattern that reminds us of the way they conducted these kind of military air activities back in the time of the Cold War.”

Image: US F-16s participating in Baltic exercise, June 13, 2014 (photo: Airman Kyla Gifford//USAF)