Iceland Says Russian Bombers Taking 'Risks' Near Passenger Jets
September 26, 2016
Russian military aircraft recently flew under an Icelandic passenger jet without being detected by radar, raising alarms about their risky behavior, Icelandic officials said on September 26.
The Icelandic foreign ministry said three Tupolev bombers flew between 1,800-2,700 meters below a commercial airliner flying from Reykjavik to Stockholm on September 22. The bombers' transponders were turned off, which meant they could not be detected by civilian radar.
The passenger jet's captain said he spotted the planes from the cockpit and thought their behavior was risky.
The ministry told AFP it "has repeatedly objected to unidentified Russian military flights, due to the danger this may pose to passenger flights," and would be doing so again.
Similar encounters between the Russian military and civilian planes have been reported in the Baltic region this year.
A Russian diplomat in Reykjavik, Alexei Shadskiy, said the bombers complied with international rules.
He suggested Icelandic officials are trying to "revive fear" of Russia in an effort to re-open the Keflavik airbase that the United States closed in 2006.
During World War II and the Cold War, Keflavik was an important U.S. base but its usefulness to the alliance dwindled after that.
Based on reporting by AFP and dpa
Copyright (c) 2016. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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