Estonia accuses Russia of fourth incursion into airspace in 2016

Baltic state and NATO member Estonia has said a Russian military craft violated its airspace, the fourth such incursion this year, prompting the foreign ministry to hand a protest note over to the Russian ambassador in Tallinn, the army said Tuesday.

According to the army statement, a Russian Antonov An-72 transport aircraft entered Estonian airspace near the Baltic Sea island of Vaindloo without permission and remained there for one and a half minutes.

The Russian pilot had the aircraft's transponder turned on but was not in contact with Estonian air-traffic control, the statement said.

Citing Russian military experts, Postimees newspaper reported on Tuesday that Russian warplanes are not fitted with the most modern transponders, effectively meaning that civilian radar is "blind" to them.

Instead they use soviet-era encoded electronic transmitters that only transmit data to Russian military radar.

NATO and Russia have traded accusations that each side flies warplanes over the Baltic region with the transponder - an automatic transmitter that identifies an aircraft and its position - switched off.

Russia's Defence Ministry denied that its plane violated Estonian airspace, according to state news agency TASS.

"Russia's Aerospace Forces have not violated Estonia's airspace in the vicinity of Vaindloo Island," General Igor Konashenkov told journalists. An-72 warplanes of Russia's Aerospace Forces "did not make any flights in the indicated area yesterday."

Last update: Tue, 06/09/2016 - 17:28


More from Europe

EU Parliament lifts Le Pen immunity over alleged racial slur

The European Parliament on Tuesday lifted the immunity of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of France's far-right...

Sweden lowers projection for number of asylum seekers in 2016

Tighter border checks introduced by the European Union and individual European states were Tuesday cited as the main...

France to raze encampments as migrants leave Calais

French authorities continued registering migrants from a camp near the northern port city of Calais on Tuesday,...

14 Chechen asylum seekers targeted in German counterterrorism raids

Fourteen Chechen asylum seekers were targeted in a series of counterterrorism raids conducted by German authorities...

EU's Juncker against "crackdown" on toasters, hairdryers

The European Union should not regulate the energy efficiency of devices such as toasters and hairdryers, the head of...