Romania intercepts Ukrainian fighter jet
Romania scrambled two F-16 Fighting Falcon jets on Thursday morning to intercept a foreign military aircraft, the country’s defense ministry has said. The intercepted target was identified as a Ukrainian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 air superiority fighter jet. It was directed to land at a military base near the city of Bacau in eastern Romania, the statement said.
The ministry said the pilot of the Ukrainian jet surrendered himself to the Romanian authorities. Bucharest is assessing the legal ramifications of the incident. The defense ministry said it would provide further details about the situation later.
The news comes amid a Russian military operation in Ukraine, which Russia launched on Thursday morning. Moscow identified Ukrainian military airfields and aircraft on the ground as primary targets for its air strikes.
Romania, a NATO member, said it had taken all the necessary precautions and was monitoring the events unfolding in the neighboring nation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had launched the operation to force a demilitarization and “de-Nazification” of Ukraine. He accused the US of arming the country against Russia and turning a blind eye to the presence of radical nationalists in the ranks of Ukrainian troops. The operation was intended to prevent worse bloodshed in the future, the Russian leader claimed.