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Moscow expects explanations over incident with plane carrying lawmakers — Foreign Ministry

October 19, 2015, 20:18 UTC+3

Moscow wants explanations both from the French and the Swiss sides

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Sergey Naryshkin and Russian diplomat Alexey Borodavkin arriving in Geneva on Monday

Sergey Naryshkin and Russian diplomat Alexey Borodavkin arriving in Geneva on Monday

© Anna Isakova/Russian State Duma press service/TASS

MOSCOW, October 19./TASS/. The Russian Foreign Ministry is waiting for explanations through diplomatic channels from Bern and Paris as to the incident with the plane carrying State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin, ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova told Rossiya 24 television on Friday.

"We must hear explanations both from the French and the Swiss side. We must understand what it was and what for it was done," she said.

The Foreign Ministry received information about the incident from the pilots of the plane in which the speaker was traveling. They said a French Air Force plane had approached the Russian aircraft.

"We began checking this information, and the French ambassador to Russia was summoned to the Foreign Ministry… The ambassador took time out to clarify the circumstances. Then statements appeared in mass media that it had possibly been a Swiss plane, and then we saw reports by the Swiss side confirming it had been a Swiss plane," she said.

"Planes carrying speakers of other countries cross airspace without hindrance if there has been an official request for such a flight," the diplomat added.

Russia’s State Duma speaker confident that foreign ministry will unravel incident with his plane

Speaker of Russia’s State Duma Sergey Naryshkin has said he is sure that the Russian Foreign Ministry will get to the bottom of Monday’s incident with the plane carrying the Russian parliamentary delegation. Answering reporters’ questions regarding the incident, Naryshkin noted that he "would not like to comment on the issue extensively." "The Foreign Ministry is looking into the matter, I am sure it will get to the bottom, but all this is quite unpleasant," he said.

He noted once again that he had not seen the aircraft that approached the Russian plane, since he was "working with the documents" at the moment.

Naryshkin added that he had no claims against Switzerland, adding that his visit to this country, which hosted the 133rd session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, had been "well-organized.".

Earlier on Monday, French Ambassador to Russia Jean-Maurice Ripert was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry to give explanations over the dangerous proximity of a French Air Force fighter to a Russian airliner.

Later Switzerland confirmed that its F/A-18 fighter closely approached on Monday a Russian airliner in Swiss airspace in the vicinity of the city of Biel, a representative of the Swiss Federal Department of Defense, Civil Protection and Sports (DDPS) said.

"The Swiss fighter plane F/A-18 approached a Russian plane in Swiss airspace over the city of Biel within the framework of a standard procedure of police control in the air. It happened at 10:22, local time (11:22, Moscow time," DDPS spokesman Peter Minder said on Monday.

"It was a standard procedure adopted in Switzerland," he said. "There is nothing unusual in this."

Answering a TASS question whether the incident was dangerous, he said "no." Minder also said that the Swiss military pilot only wanted to identify the plane. According to him, Switzerland conducts about 100 similar checks per year on average.

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