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MOSCOW, December 14. /TASS/. Russian Defence Ministry has refuted Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultquist’s statement on a Russian warplane detected in the air space and allegedly nearly colliding with a passenger airliner on the way from Denmark’s capital Copenhagen.
“No prerequisites existed for an air accident related with a flight of a Russian warplane in the international air space over the Baltic Sea on Friday, December 12,” spokesman of Russian Defence Ministry Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Sunday.
“The flight was being made strictly in compliance with international air space rules, not violating borders of other countries and at a safe distance from traffic routes of civilian aircraft,” he said, noting the warplane was at a distance of more than 70 kilometres from the flight route of a passenger jet on the way from Copenhagen.
Swedish TV channel SVT reported on Saturday that a passenger jet on the way from Danish airport Kastrup was about to collide with a foreign warplane on a flight with switched-off transponder, a device used to identify an aircraft.
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultquist said the warplane belonged to Russia. “Swedish military pilots have identified the jet clearly, there cannot be any doubts about it,” he said.
“The Swedish defence minister’s statement about reported ‘invisibility’ of the Russian warplane due to switched-off transponder for Swedish air controlling services is an allegation,” Konashenkov said.
“Flights of NATO warplanes which have become threefold more intensive in the last few months are always made with switched-off transponders in international air space near Russian borders,” he noted.
“But this does not mean that airspace control means do not detect them. Besides, a NATO reconnaissance plane RC-135 was on a flight in the same area between the Russian jet and the route of a passenger airliner from Copenhagen,” the spokesman of Russian Defence Ministry said.