A French Mirage 2000 intercepts a Russian aircraft off the

A French Mirage 2,000 intercepts a Russian aircraft off the coast of Estonia

A French Mirage 2000 fighter plane intercepted a Russian aircraft off the Estonian coast, the Armed Forces General Staff announced on X on Tuesday.

“Launch on alert and interception of a Russian Il-20 “Coot” reconnaissance and reconnaissance aircraft off the Estonian coast by French Mirage 2000-5. “Aim: to protect the airspace of our Baltic allies,” the French General Staff wrote, without elaborating.

French military aircraft are deployed to certain NATO member states as part of a mission called “NATO Sky Police,” which aims to “maintain the security of the alliance’s airspace,” according to the organization’s website. “This collective mission requires the continuous presence – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – of combat aircraft and pilots capable of quickly responding to possible airspace violations and taking appropriate action,” it said. These missions have been increased since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

A tense context

This interception by a French fighter came the day after an important meeting of Ukraine's European allies in Paris. During the interview, Emmanuel Macron said that sending Western troops to Ukraine in the future “cannot be ruled out.” A sentence that was widely commented on by leaders of NATO member states and the French political opposition.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, several device interceptions have been reported without any major incidents occurring. For example, in March 2023, a Russian plane hit an American drone in the Black Sea.