Russian helicopter violates Estonian airspace (15)
At 11.55 on Thursday a Russian helicopter of the Mil Mi-8 type violated Estonian airspace close to the Border Guard’s Vasknarva station.
In reaction to this latest of intrusions of Russian aircraft, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs called in the Russian ambassador on Friday and forwarded a protest note to him by the Estonian government.
The helicopter was in Estonian airspace for less than a minute. The aircraft’s transponder was turned off, no flight plan had been submitted previously. At the time it crossed the border, the helicopter was not in radio contact with Estonian air traffic control.
The Police and Border Guard Board confirmed the helicopter’s position on the Estonian side of the Border both visually and by use of technical equipment. The Border Guard checked both Lake Peipus and the lakeshore, but didn’t find anything out of the ordinary.
Russian defence ministry denies airspace violation
The Russian Ministry of Defence denied that their helicopter violated Estonian airspace. Interfax and TASS quoted a statement of the ministry saying that "no military aircraft had been in the area in question.”
The Russian embassy in Tallinn confirmed to TASS that the ambassador had been called to the Estonian Foreign Ministry. “The Estonian side claims that a Russian helicopter allegedly violated Estonian airspace and flew 492 meters into Estonian territory, where it stayed for about a minute. The authorities responsible are checking this information, and we will forward to Estonia our own view of the event,” the embassy stated.