MOSCOW, Octrober 19. /TASS/. Member of Russia’s State Duma lower house and a member of the Russian delegation Sergey Gavrilov has described as an unfriendly act on the part of NATO the incident when a French Air Force fighter had a dangerous approach with an airliner carrying Russia’s parliamentary delegation led by State Duma speaker Sergey Naryshkin to Switzerland.
"The incident shows lack of respect for the norms of international flights and is an unfriendly act on the part of NATO," Gavrilov told reporters. "In my opinion, such behavior would have been unthinkable during France’s independence, before it joined NATO, under Charles de Gaulle, [Francois] Mitterrand and even [Nicolas] Sarkozy."
The lawmaker confirmed that the plane carrying the Russian delegation was flying along the agreed international corridor.
"At an altitude of 3,700 metres over the Swiss border, the Russian plane was approached by a French Air Force fighter. The French fighter performed a high-risk maneuver despite the fact that the Russian airplane was flying along the agreed international air corridor," Gavrilov said.
Earlier on Monday, French Ambassador to Russia Jean-Maurice Ripert was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry to give explanations regarding the incident.
"On October 19, the Ambassador of the French Republic in Moscow, Jean-Maurice Ripert, was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry to Deputy Foreign Minister Alexey Meshkov to give explanations over the dangerous mid-air encounter of a French Air Force plane in the national airspace on the morning of the same day with an airliner that was carrying to Geneva (Switzerland) a Russian parliamentary delegation led by speaker of the State Duma Sergey Naryshkin to attend the 133rd assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
"The Russian side expressed its deep concern to the ambassador over the incident. It emphasized that such actions by Paris are undermining France’s credibility as a venue for multilateral meetings and negotiations," the ministry said.