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US spy plane flew close to civilian aircraft on May 22 — Russia Defense Ministry

May 25, 16:19 UTC+3 MOSCOW
According to the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, "unprofessional actions by the US plane’s crew created a risk of collision with civilian aircraft of Dutch carrier KLM and Swiss airlines"
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United States Air Force Boeing RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft

United States Air Force Boeing RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft

© EPA/HITOSHI MAESHIRO

MOSCOW, May 25. /TASS/. The US spy plane flying over the Sea of Japan near Russia’s eastern borders on May 22, was flying dangerously close to civilian aircraft of KLM and Swiss International Air Lines, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters on Wednesday.

"Unprofessional actions by the US plane’s crew created a risk of collision with civilian aircraft of Dutch carrier KLM and Swiss airlines," the spokesman said.

"The Defense Ministry drew attention to a need to take measures for ruling out such incidents during flights of US reconnaissance aircraft close to the Russian borders," Konashenkov added.

"Flights of US spy planes, in particular a turbojet RC-135, near eastern borders of the Russian Federation are not something uncommon and are made almost on a daily basis. However this time, maneuvering along an international air route, the American reconnaissance plane created a real risk of collision of passenger airliners, that could have had catastrophic consequences," the general stressed.

On May 23, US military attache was invited to the Russian Defense Ministry. The Defense Ministry’s press and information department said the US official had been notified that on May 22, 2016 Russian air defenses identified a US RC-135 spy plane conducting air reconnaissance over the Sea of Japan near Russia’s state border."

"The US plane’s transponder was turned off. The crew failed to notify the air traffic control services of the region about its route. The plane used altitudes meant for regular flights by civil airliners," the Russian Defense Ministry said, adding that "unprofessional actions by the US plane’s crew created a risk of collision with civilian aircraft."

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