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Swiss embassy passes note to Russian Foreign Ministry over incident with Russian plane

October 20, 2015, 14:54 UTC+3
The note says that it was routine patrolling of the airspace of Switzerland
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Russian Foreign Ministry

Russian Foreign Ministry

© Gennady Khameliyanin/TASS Archive

MOSCOW, October 20. /TASS/. The Swiss embassy in Moscow has prepared a note for the Russian Foreign Ministry with explanations regarding the Monday incident with a plane that was carrying a Russian delegation led by speaker of the State Duma lower house of parliament Sergey Naryshkin, the embassy press attache Valentina Anufriyeva told TASS on Tuesday.

"The corresponding note has been prepared with explanations in connection with the incident that occurred with Sergey Naryshkin’s plane in the airspace over Switzerland. It has been passed to the Russian Foreign Ministry through diplomatic channels," she said.

Switzerland confirmed on Monday that its F/A-18 fighter closely approached a Russian airliner in Swiss airspace, a representative of the Swiss Federal Department of Defense, Civil Protection and Sports (DDPS) said. Russia initially thought it was a French fighter.

"The note says that it was routine patrolling of the airspace of Switzerland," the press attache said. According to her, the Swiss ambassador "is in permanent contact with the Russian Foreign Ministry."

Switzerland has informed Russia through diplomatic channels about the actions of its military airplane, spokesperson for the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Sonja Isella told TASS on Tuesday.

"Yesterday, Swiss Ambassador to Russia Pierre Helg informed the Russian authorities that the aircraft of the Swiss Air Force had carried out a routine ground control mission," she said.

Meanwhile, head of the department’s press service Jean-Mark Crevoisier told TASS that Switzerland did not consider the fact that its fighter jet approached the Russian plane to be "an incident" and was not going to offer its apologies over it.

"That was not an incident but the control procedure, which we normally carry out. We are going to forward a note to Russia to explain the procedure," he said, adding that the occurrence should not be regarded as "a problem." "This is not a problem," he said.

Answering a question whether Switzerland was going to offer its apologies, Crevoisier said, "No, no, no." "We do not need to apologize, we have to explain our procedure," he noted. "We are in contact with the ambassador, and he has already established the contact in Moscow with the [Foreign] Ministry. And now we are preparing a note to explain everything."

On Monday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that Moscow was expecting from Bern and Paris explanations through diplomatic channels over the incident with the plane of Russian State Duma speaker Sergey Naryshkin. "We must bring the issue to a conclusion with both the French side and the Swiss side. We have to listen to the explanations of the French side, just as the Swiss side. We need to figure out what it was, why this was done," she said.

On October 19, an F/A-18 fighter of the Swiss Air Force flew in close proximity to a plane with a Russian parliamentary delegation on board.

The incident happened as Russian parliamentary speaker Sergei Naryshkin headed to Geneva, in Switzerland, to attend a meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Geneva’s airport is very close to Switzerland’s border with France, which may have led to confusion about whose airspace Naryshkin’s aircraft was in when the incident took place. The incident took place at 10:22, local time (11:22, Moscow time) in the vicinity of the Swiss city of Biel.

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