After a pair of Russian bombers approached their airspace over the North Sea on Wednesday, the Dutch scrambled jets to intercept them and were soon joined by scrambled British and Danish planes.
The Dutch ministry identified the intruding planes as two Russian TU-95 Bears and said it had launched two F-16s from Volkel air force base to intercept them. The Russian jets were escorted by aircraft from the three NATO members until they departed, according to The Associated Press.
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"That's why we scrambled, that's why the Danish scrambled and the English scrambled, to ensure they fly out of our air space," said Maj. Wilko Ter Horst.
Anders Fridberg, spokesman for the Danish Defense Command, said the Russian planes came in from the north.
"We just followed them and just turned back when we reached Germany," he said.
The Dutch ministry statement said such incidents have occurred before, citing one from March 21 and another from Sept. 10 last year.
The British Defense Ministry said the Russian planes flew in international airspace at all times.
Reuters news agency cites defense analysts as saying Russia uses such surveillance flights to remind the world of its military power and to probe other countries' air defense systems.
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