September 19, 2017 – Fort Russ News – Paul Antonopoulos
The Russian defense ministry said on Monday that Lithuania’s claims that Russian jets on September 16 violated its airspace was politicized and not a part of reality as Russia received permission from air traffic control in Vilnius to safely pass a storm.
“We would like to stress that in the following two days the Russian defense ministry received no claims from the Lithuanian side via the military diplomatic channels,” the ministry said. “We consider the Lithuanian side’s claims about alleged intentional violation of its airspace by Russian planes during the Zapad-2017 drills as politicized and having nothing to do with reality.”
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The ministry stressed that Russian Il-76 warplanes flying over the Baltic Sea deviated towards Lithuania’s air borders with the permission of an air traffic controller in Vilnius to fly past a storm front.
“I order to avoid the hazard and in strict conformity with the norms of international aviation law, the leading crew of the Russian plane made a voice inquiry to the zonal airspace control center in Vilnius to ask permission for necessary deviation from the flight route towards Lithuania’s air border to fly past the storm front,” the ministry said.
“As soon as a relevant permission was received from the Lithuanian side, the planes deviated from the route to fly past the hazardous area and returned to the initial route,” the ministry said.
Paul Antonopoulos is a Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies. He has an MA in International Relations and is interested in Great Power Rivalry as well as the International Relations and Political Economy of the Middle East and Latin America.