MOSCOW, September 27. /TASS/. The Russian Defense Ministry has dismissed the statements of Iceland's Foreign Ministry saying Russian bombers approached an airliner over the Norwegian Sea.
Earlier, a pilot of an Icelandic airliner said that Russia’s Tupolev-22M3 bombers had closed up with his plane, en route from Reykjavik to Stockholm, to an unsafe distance. Media said there followed an angry reaction from Iceland’s Foreign Ministry.
According to the ministry's official spokesman Igor Konashenkov, on September 22 Russia’s Tupolev-160 bombers were flying with their transponders turned on at a considerable distance from civilian planes.
"Claims by Icelandic pilots and diplomats Russian long-range aviation planes had come dangerously close to a civilian liner over the Norwegian Sea are nothing but a fruit of their imagination," Konashenkov said.
"Let me point out that the route of our planes lay over the Barents and Norwegian seas in strict compliance with the international rules of using airspace."
Konashenkov noted that the confusion in statements by Icelandic diplomats and pilots regarding the type and number of planes that had allegedly approached the passenger plane merely confirm the charges were groundless. He said the real aim of such "canards" was to use any opportunity to fan Russophobia in Europe.