NATO reports more Russian flights, intercepts

Russian MIG-29 and SU-27 fighter jets fly over Red Square during a Victory Day Parade in Moscow on May 9, 2008 (AFP Photo/Natalia Kolesnikova)

Brussels (AFP) - NATO reported more Russian military flights and intercepts Friday over the Baltics, North Sea and Atlantic, just days after it picked up "an unusual level" of activity over European airspace.

The Russian flights, as previously, included "fighter jets, long-range bombers and tanker aircraft," NATO military spokesman Colonel Martin Downie said.

In one incident, two Russian TU-95 nuclear capable bombers flew west of Britain and down to Portugal, escorted by Norwegian, British and Portuguese fighter aircraft, Downie said.

No violations of NATO airspace were detected, he added.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that the US-led military alliance remained vigilant given the increase in such activity.

"We are not in a Cold War situation but Russia has undermined a lot of trust," he said against a backdrop of continued tensions over Ukraine. "We must keep NATO strong."

On Wednesday, NATO said it had tracked and intercepted four groups of Russian warplanes "conducting significant military manoeuvres" in European airspace the same day and on Tuesday.

"These sizeable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European airspace," it said.

NATO says that so far this year it has launched more than 100 intercepts of Russian aircraft, three times more than in all 2013.