A Russian plane entered Estonian airspace without clearance on Tuesday afternoon, it was reported on Wednesday evening. The incident was amplified by the current context of a possible submarine sighting in Sweden and increased Russian naval movements in the Baltic Sea and drew a diplomatic protest from Estonia.
The intrusion happened at 13:54 on October 21 and involved an IL-20 reconnaissance plane. It was 500 meters deep in Estonian airspace for a minute to the west of Hiiumaa and Saaremaa islands.
The Estonian Foreign Ministry summoned Russian Ambassador Yuri Merzlyakov on Wednesday and delivered a note expressing protest.
The border violation was logged by the Ämari air force base. The plane did not have a flight plan, the transponder was switched off, and it avoided radio contact with Estonian air traffic controllers, uudised.err.ee reported.
Portuguese F-16s took to the air from Šiauliai in Lithuania and established visual contact over international waters.
Russian planes typically violate Estonian airspace around five times a year, but this one was an exception - few incidents have occurred in the general area of Wednesday's intrusion.
It was the sixth intrusion in 2014, the last one having occurred on August 13 over Vaindloo Island in the Gulf of Finland, like the previous four times this year.