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Lithuania: Fighter jet alert halts Spanish PM news conference

A Russian plane triggered an urgent alert disrupting a press conference of the Lithuanian and Spanish leaders.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda attend a news conference that was briefly disrupted by an urgent take off at Siauliai air base

The two leaders were giving their 'joint declaration' when the alert came

Pilots scrambled a Eurofighter jet at Siauliai air force base in LithuaniaThursday in response to an unidentified Russian plane.

The alert interrupted a joint news conference the president, Gitanas Nauseda, was holding with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

They were three minutes into the press conference in front of the plane's fuselage and in the middle of a "joint declaration" when a chaotic scene unfolded behind them during a live broadcast. 

Spanish newspaper El Pais tweeted dramatic footage of the disruption.

The pilots were responding to a Russian plane flying from the exclave of Kaliningrad that had not filed a flight plan. 

Nauseda briefly continued before both he and Sanchez were led to the side as podiums, flags and members of the media were cleared out of the way of the Eurofighter jet. 

"The jet was on an urgent mission, and the press conference will commence soon," the Lithuanian president's spokesman told the Reuters news agency, The spokesman also said there was never a danger to the two leaders. 

A spokesperson for the Lithuanian Army's joint chiefs of staff confirmed the plane took off at 11:55am local time. 

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez shakes hands with a Spanish Air Force serviceman at the Siauliai air base in Lithuania

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez shakes hands with a Spanish Air Force serviceman at the Siauliai air base in Lithuania

Once the press conference resumed, Sanchez thanked the Spanish pilots "for the hard work they do to defend the territorial integrity of Lithuania as we just saw."

Why is the Spanish prime minister in Lithuania?

Sanchez is visiting Spanish troops who are in Lithuania working alongside NATO as part of the Baltic air policing mission. Seven Spanish Eurofighter jets have been based at Siauliai since April 30, part of a rotating mission among NATO forces.

Russian military planes over international waters in the Baltic Sea between Russia and the Kaliningrad territory have been known to go without filing flight plans, have their transponders off and on occasion stray into the air space of the Baltic states.

The Spanish prime minister is currently winding down a three-day tour of the Baltic states, where Spanish forces are stationed. He previously visited Estonia and Latvia Tuesday and Wednesday.

While in Lithuania, Sanchez is scheduled to meet with Belarusian opposition leader Svitlana Tsikhanouskaya and Arvydas Sabonis, head of the Lithuanian Basketball Federation who used to play for Real Madrid.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Correction: An earlier version of this article identified Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez by the improper job title.