The Swedish military has said that a Russian military intelligence plane almost hit a commercial passenger plane just south of Sweden on Friday.
The Swedish air force chief, Maj. Gen. Micael Byden, said the incident took place in international airspace. Fighter jets were sent out immediately to identify the plane, and he added that the Russian plane’s military transponders were turned off to avoid detection.
“No prerequisites existed for an air accident related with a flight of a Russian warplane in the international air space over the Baltic Sea on Friday,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said on Sunday, refuting that Sweden said, via CNN.
“The flight was being made strictly in compliance with international air space rules, not violating borders of other countries and at a safe distance from traffic routes of civilian aircraft,” he continued.
Konashenkov noted that the Russian military plane was more than 40 miles from the passenger jet flight route.
A few days ago, Norway said that a Norwegian NATO plane was almost hit by a Russian military jet north of the country.
“It’s very important that air security is taken seriously by all states, including Russia,” Danish Defense Minister Nicolai Wammen wrote in a statement, according to Bloomberg News. “It’s dangerous and completely unnecessary that Russia military planes fly so close to civilian air traffic in the Baltic Sea.”
Amid a confrontation with the West over its moves in Ukraine, Russia has stepped up military flights around the Baltic Sea region.
Poland’s defense minister, Tomasz Siemoniak, said last week that Russian naval and air force activity has been “unprecedented.”
But he said Russia is not looking to prepare an attack. He said the Kremlin is testing NATO defenses and response times.
Siemoniak said the incursions do “not serve to build good relationships and trust,” according to the BBC.
The Finnish air force also published a number of photos of Russian planes flying near the country.
“The past few days have seen unusually intense Russian air activity over the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea. Air activity intensified on December 6 and has continued during the first days of the week. No violations of Finnish airspace have been observed,” wrote the Finnish military in a post on Dec. 12.
Finland’s military added that it has stepped up the air policing of its airspace. Finland and Sweden are not members of NATO.