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Poland claims no political underpinning in incident with Russian minister’s jet

Poland banned the entry of its space for the jet, on which Shoigu was returning from Slovakia

WARSAW, August 30, /ITAR-TASS/. There was no political underpinning in the incident with the jet carrying the Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, which the Polish authorities did not permit to enter their airspace Friday when he was returning from a trip to Slovakia, the Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman claimed.

“There is no political subtext in the problem of the minister’s flyover in the Polish airspace,” Marcin Wojciechowski, the Foreign Ministry’s spokesman said. “The case in hand was purely procedural.”

Poland banned the entry of its space for the jet, on which Shoigu was returning from Slovakia where he taken part in the official functions timed for the anniversary of the Slovak uprising during World War II.

The press secretary of the Polish Armed Forces operative command, whom Itar-Tass turned for comments to, said the confusion was caused an incorrectly filed flyover over plan, as the captain of the jet had filed a plan for the transit of a military jet.

The rules require such transits should be coordinated 72 hours in advance, he said.

On the way to Slovakia the jet crossed Poland as a civilian one and no coordination procedures were needed.

A new plan was filed after during the stopoff in Bratislava and the status of the flight was again changed to the civilian one, after which the Polish authorities issued a flyover permit, the press secretary said.

Polish authorities’ refusal to permit the jet to enter Polish airspace on a return flight from Slovakia will not be left unreciprocated by Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“Russian delegation was received with much warmth in Slovakia where people remember the contribution that our country made to the liberation of Slovak people from Nazism but an outrageous incident occurred on the way back when the Polish side denied permission for an overfly, ostensibly for operational reasons,” the ministry said.

The Russian delegation had to return to Bratislava and the Polish authorities agreed to reaffirm the permit they had issued earlier only after energetic protests from the Russian side, it indicated.

“Such actions can only be qualified as a crude violation of the norms and ethics of inter-state communications and, given the context of the celebrations in Slovakia, as an outrage on the historical memory and exploits of those delivered Europe from Nazism,” the ministry said.