Dutch F-35s intercept three Russian military aircraft near Poland - Netherlands' defence ministry

Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35 at Graf Ignatievo airbase
A Dutch soldier stands guard as a Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35 takes off at Graf Ignatievo airbase, Bulgaria, April 14, 2022. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

Feb 14 (Reuters) - (This Feb. 13 story has been corrected to specify that NATO's reporting name for the aircraft designated by Flanker is Su-27, not Su-28, in paragraph 5)

Two Dutch F-35 fighters intercepted a formation of three Russian military aircraft near Poland and escorted them out, the Netherlands' defence ministry said in a statement late on Monday.

"The then unknown aircraft approached the Polish NATO area of responsibility from Kaliningrad," according to Reuters' translation of the ministry's statement.

Kaliningrad is a Russian Baltic coast enclave located between NATO and European Union members Poland and Lithuania.

"After identification, it turned out to be three aircraft: a Russian IL-20M Coot-A that was escorted by two Su-27 Flankers. The Dutch F-35s escorted the formation from a distance and handed over the escort to NATO partners."

The Il-20M Coot-A is NATO's reporting name for the Russian Ilyushin Il-20M reconnaissance aircraft while the Su-27 Flankers are NATO's reporting name for the Sukhoi Su-27 fighter aircraft.

Russia's defence ministry did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for a comment.

The Netherlands' defence ministry said that eight Dutch F-35s are stationed in Poland for February and March.

Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne Editing by Matthew Lewis and Tim Hepher

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.