Poznan-bound plane in 'near collision' with Russian military aircraft?
PR dla Zagranicy
Swedish authorities have claimed a passenger plane nearly collided with a Russian military aircraft over southern Sweden on Friday after the latter attempted to evade radar detection.
Sweden's defence ministry has not revealed the airline involved, although Swedish and Danish media have reported that the passenger service was Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) flight SK1755 from Copenhagen to Poznan, western Poland.
The incident follows an increased Russian military presence over the Baltic in recent days.
Sweden's defence minister Peter Hultqvist claimed on Swedish radio that the Russian aircraft had switched off its transponders so that it would not show up on commercial radar.
“This is serious. This is inappropriate. This is outright dangerous when you turn off the transponder,” he said.
After the near collision, Swedish fighter jets were sent up to identify the aircraft, concluding that it was a Russian intelligence plane.
Hultqvist noted that the Russian airplane had technically not violated Swedish airspace, but by attempting to evade detection it had put lives at risk.
In March this year, a similar incident occurred when another SAS plane nearly collided with a Russian aircraft, with the planes just 100 metres from each other.
Last week Poland's defence minister Tomasz Siemoniak said that ''for several days, there has been unprecedented Russian activity over the Baltic Sea.''
He described Russian manoeuvres as an ''ongoing test'' in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis. (nh)