Danish defence minister “deeply concerned” over Russian spy plane incident
On Friday morning a Cimber passenger flight was on a collision course with a Russian military aircraft just south of Malmö.
Swedish military and civilian air traffic controllers warned the Cimber airliner of the unidentified aircraft on its course and the passenger plane had to make an evasive manoeuvre, reports Berlingske. Danish and Swedish fighter jets were sent out and identified the aircraft as a Russian spy plane.
“It is extremely important that aviation safety is taken seriously by all states – including Russia,” Nicolai Wammen, Danish defence minister, said in a press release on Sunday. “It is dangerous and completely unnecessary that Russian military aircraft were flying so close to civil air traffic in the Baltic Sea.”
Wammen said that he is in “close contact” with Swedish defence and that Danish and Swedish defence and civil authorities are “working together on the specific incident and flight safety in the Baltic region”.
Wammen told Berlingske that he expects to meet with Swedish defence so they can discuss how to be better prepared and that the discussion would also take into account other countries in the Baltic Sea region.
“It is clear we are in a situation where the Russians have been very active and have flown in a manner that is deeply inappropriate and so it is important that we [Denmark and Sweden] are in close contact,” Wammen said.
Russia rejects claim
Russian defence denies the claims that their aircraft was on a collision course and told ITAR-TASS that the military aircraft was “more than 70 kilometres from the flight route of the passenger plane”.
“The flight was being made strictly in compliance with international air space rules, not violating borders of other countries,” Igor Konashenkov, major general for the Russian defence, said.
Swedish defence also reported that the Russian plane was flying with its transponder off, essentially making it invisible from machines being able to determine an aircraft’s existence or position.
Konashenkov also rejected this claim calling it an “allegation”, adding that “NATO warplanes” fly with “switched-off transponders in international air space near Russian borders”.
This is not the first time this year that a civilian flight has been on a collision course with a Russian spy plane. In March of this year an SAS flight south of Malmö was only 90 metres from a Russian spy plane.