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Russian airliner escorting routine procedure for Swiss fighter jets — defense spokesman

November 20, 2016, 0:53 UTC+3 GENEVA
"It often happens that F/A-18 escort government airliners when they fly through the Swiss air space within our work to control the skies," Daniel Reist said
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Daniel Reist

Daniel Reist

© EPA/ALEXANDRA WEY

GENEVA, November 20. /TASS/. Swiss Air Force’s fighter jets escorted a plane of Russia’s Rossiya Special Flight Group as part of a routine procedure required for defense of Switzerland’s air space, Daniel Reist, a Swiss army spokesman, said on Saturday commenting on the incident when on November 18 Swiss fighter jets flew near the Russian plane bound for Peru.

"It often happens that F/A-18 escort government airliners when they fly through the Swiss air space within our work to control the skies," Reist told the Swiss Telegraphic Agency.

The control is carried out rather often, notwithstanding which country the plane belongs to. In particular, Switzerland controls the aircraft which have officially notified about their flights. It is required for identification of their registration numbers, he said. Annually, the Swiss Air Force carries out from 300 to 400 checks with regard to foreign aircraft.

Meanwhile, Russia’s embassy to Switzerland has not received explanations from the country’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) over the note Russia had sent earlier, expressing bewilderment over the approach of the Swiss Air Force’s fighters to the plane of the Rossiya Special Flight Group.

"The answer has not been received yet," the embassy’s press service told TASS.

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 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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