Moscow to Sweden: Alleged 'Colliding' Jet 70km from Civil Route

Moscow to Sweden: Alleged 'Colliding' Jet 70km from Civil Route
Sun Dec 14, 2014 15:00:26

Russia’s Defense Ministry has dismissed Sweden’s accusation that an unresponsive Russian military aircraft nearly collided with a passenger plane over the Baltic Sea.

The ministry added that NATO planes in the area also have their transponders turned off.
The Russian aircraft in question was 70 kilometers away from the flight path of a passenger jet taking off from Copenhagen, and thus there were "no prerequisites" for collision between the two, Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said in a statement. He also denied allegations that the military jet was flying right above southern Sweden, breaching its airspace.
“The flight was in strict accordance with international laws on the use of airspace and did not violate state borders while remaining at a safe distance from the routes of civil aircrafts,” Konashenkov said.
Earlier on Saturday, Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist told local radio that the Russian jet had its transponders turned off so it could fly undetected, and claimed that it nearly crashed into a passenger plane over Sweden, RT reported.
“This is serious. This is inappropriate. This is outright dangerous when you turn off the transponder,” Hultqvist said.
Konashenkov called Hultqvist’s assessment of the Russian jet being invisible – and thus dangerous – a “deception,” pointing out that none of NATO's spy and patrol jets operating in the region have their transponders turned on. That, however, does not prevent Russia from detecting them.
“I want to particularly stress that the flights of NATO military planes in the international space on Russia’s borders – which have intensified more than threefold over the last months – are always conducted with disabled transponders. But that does not mean that the Russian airspace control are not able to detect them,” the spokesman stressed.
As recently as December 12, the country’s detection system spotted a NATO RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft in the same area where the supposed “incident” with the Russian jet took place – only closer to the civilian aircraft route, Konashenkov revealed.
NATO has recently stepped up its military flights in the region, due to a perceived Russian threat and the need to reassure the allied Baltic states. It comes against the backdrop of tensions over Ukraine.

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