MOSCOW, March 23. /TASS/. Russia is concerned over increasingly frequent flights by NATO warplanes near Russia’s borders with their transponders off that enable possible dangerous incidents, Russian Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Artyom Kozhin said on Friday.
"What continues to cause concern is the increasing intensity of flights by the military aviation of NATO member states, and also Sweden and Finland near our borders in the area of the Baltic Sea," the deputy spokesman pointed out.
"Moreover, two-thirds of the aircraft of NATO countries, Finland and Sweden performed flights in September-November 2017 with their transponders off. These actions create potentially dangerous incidents with far-reaching consequences," the deputy spokesman said.
As the diplomat stressed, Russia on its part has done much to reduce tension in the region.
"Within the framework of the working group of experts for military and civil cooperation that operated under the ICAO aegis, an off-the-airway route was agreed in 2017 for Russian military aviation from St. Petersburg to Kaliningrad and back," he pointed out.
‘In compliance with measures taken by the Defense Ministry of Russia on a voluntary basis for ensuring air safety, the flights are performed with turned-on transponders pursuant to flight plans provided in advance," the deputy spokesman said.
"Unfortunately, we do not see any reciprocal steps from NATO member states," Kozhin said.
“Despite the promises given earlier, we do not see the alliance’s desire to move to an expert discussion on this issue within the Russia-NATO Council format," the Russian Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman said.