Estonia halts NATO air drills after missile misfires


HELSINKI (AP) – Estonia’s defense minister says he has ordered a halt to NATO’s air exercises in Estonia pending an investigation after a missile was accidentally fired over the Baltic country’s airspace by a Spanish fighter jet on exercises this week.

Minister Juri Luik said Thursday the air-to-air missile that was erroneously launched Tuesday over southern Estonia has not been found but could have crashed in a remote nature reserve in the Jogeva region or triggered its built-in self-destruct and exploded in midair.

The Eurofighter Typhoon of the Spanish Air Force was part of NATO’s Baltic air-policing mission and carried AMRAAM-type missiles containing up to 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of explosives.

Luik reiterated Estonia’s trust in NATO’s Baltic air mission, which started in 2004 as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined the military alliance.