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Moscow to respond to Bern’s explanations over Russian airliner - spokeswoman

November 19, 2016, 20:29 UTC+3 MOSCOW

A plane of the Rossiya Special Flight Group headed to Peru’s capital city for the APEC summit. Swiss Air Force’s fighter jets intercepted the aircraft and escorted it to the border with France

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MOSCOW, November 19. /TASS/. Moscow will give an appropriate response to Bern’s explanations over the incident with a Russian airliner escorted by Swiss fighter jets, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a televised interview with the Rossiya’24 channel on Saturday.

"I would like to underscore again that the passengers of the Russian plane were especially worried over how closely the fighter jets flew," Zakharova said. "We have not left unnoticed media reports on the issue. (Russia’s) embassy to Switzerland asked for explanations from Switzerland. We are waiting for the explanations and will give an appropriate response when they are received."

Earlier, TASS reported that the Russian Embassy to Switzerland sent a note to that country’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), where it expressed bewilderment over the approach of the Swiss Air Force’s fighters to the plane of the Rossiya Special Flight Group and asked to give explanations as the permission for the flight had been received well in advance.

On November 18, a plane of the Rossiya Special Flight Group headed to Peru’s capital city for the APEC summit. Swiss Air Force’s fighter jets intercepted the aircraft and escorted it to the border with France. Among the passengers on board the Ilyushin Il-96-300 were members of President Vladimir Putin’s delegation and reporters.

The passengers of the Russian plane spotted the Swiss fighters which flew at a small interval parallel to the plane. Appearance of the fighters close to the plane caused clear disarray on board the Russian plane. The crew hurried to calm down the passengers, saying escort of the kind is used regularly on certain routes.

The Rossiya Special Flight Group is engaged in aviation services for Russian top officials, including the president and prime minister, as well as members of their delegations during official visits abroad or working trips across Russia.

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