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British military jets scrambled 'after Russian aircraft seen off area of interest'

The British Ministry of Defence says its jets intercepted two Russian military planes near the Cornwall coast

Marwan Sultan in London , Thursday 19 Feb 2015
Michael Fallon
Britain's Defence Secretary Michael Fallon (Photo: Reuters)
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British military jets were scrambled after two Russian military aircraft were seen off the Cornwall coast, the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has announced.

The alleged incident came after the UK government accused Russia of posing a danger to three Baltic countries, and pushed Europe to consider more sanctions on Moscow.

A British MOD spokesman said the two planes had been escorted by the Royal Air Force Wednesday, until they were out of what he called “the UK area of interest."

He confirmed that “the Russian planes” did not enter UK sovereign airspace.

UK Defence Minister Michael Fallon had warned earlier of a "real and present danger" of Russia trying to destabilise three Baltic states.

He expressed his concerns about “Russian interference” in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

British newspapers quoted Fallon Wednesday on a trip to Sierra Leone as saying, “Russia could inflict the tactics it is accused of using to destabilise Ukraine on Baltic members of NATO.”

"NATO has to be ready for any kind of aggression from Russia, whatever form it takes. NATO is getting ready," he added

UK Prime Minister David Cameron also urged European countries to tell Russia it faces economic and financial consequences "if it continues to destabilise Ukraine.”

"We have to be very firm and strong about the sanctions and say to Vladimir Putin, 'What you are doing is unacceptable and it will have economic and financial consequences for many years to come if you do not desist with your behaviour,'" Cameron said.

Russia denies the claim that it is destabilising Ukraine, saying it is merely defending Russians in the country.

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