Spanish jets scrambled at prime minister’s news conference in Lithuania

by Deborah Cater
Spanish jets take off during prime ministers news conference

Spanish jets interrupt a news conference of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda at a Lithuanian air base as they respond to launch of Russian warplane.

Viewers of a live broadcast from Siauliai air base in Lithuania saw pilots running towards their planes. The podium and flags were in front of the nose of one of the jets.

The two leaders and media were led aside and the podium cleared so the jet could taxi for take-off.

Spanish jets on NATO mission in Baltics

The Spanish jets, based in Lithuania on a NATO mission to police Baltic air space took off at 0855 GMT. They scrambled in response to reports of a military jet leaving Russia’s Kalingrad region. The Russian jet had not filed a flight plan, a spokesperson for the Lithuanian army’s joint chiefs of staff said.

Once the jets were in the air, the news conference resumed. Sánchez thanked the pilots “for the hard work they do to defend the territorial integrity of Lithuania, as we just saw.”

JammFM Radio

The Lithuanian president’s spokesman said there was no danger to either Sanchez or Nauseda.

The seven Spanish Eurofighter jets are on a Baltic air policing mission, alongside four Italian F-35 aircraft at Estonia’s Amari air base. The Spanish jets have been in Lithuania since 30th April.

The Baltic air police mission routinely follows Russian military aircraft which fly over international waters over the Baltic Sea.  

The Russian jets often fly without filing a flight plan.

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