Russian jets have violated Estonian airspace seven times in 2014

The Russian IL-20 reconnaissance plane.
12/19/2014 9:46 AM
Category: Main news

The Estonian Defense Forces have disclosed that Russian Federation's military planes have entered Estonian airspace without permission seven times this year.

Five violations took place from the end of May until mid-August, all of them above Vaindloo island.

The sixth breach took place in October 21 near Saaremaa and Hiiumaa island.

The last intrusion happened on December 9 near Osmussaare islet in the northeastern Estonia, about 7.5 kilometers from the mainland. The Russian IL-20 reconnaissance plane stayed in Estonian airspace for less than a minute.

The plane did not have a flight plan and the transponder was switched off. However, it did have radio contact with Estonian air traffic controllers, said Estonian Defense Forces Headquarters.
The border violation was logged by the Ämari air force base. German Eurofighter jets that were already airborne at the time established visual contact with the IL-20 and identified an illegal entry to Estonia's airspace.

Germany is currently responsible of supporting the Baltic Air Policing mission from Ämari Air Base in Estonia.

The Baltic Air Policing mission was established in 2004, to assist Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania who have no airborne air defence capability of their own and was extended indefinitely in February 2012. The aim of the mission is to prevent unauthorized incursion into the airspace of the Baltic states and its most frequent duty is intercepting Russian aircraft and escorting them from the area.

To the west of the Baltic states’ airspace is an air corridor often used by aircraft travelling to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad from territorial Russia.

It was also reported last week that Russian military planes have repeatedly flown near Finnish and Swedish airspace, with their transponders switched off, putting civilian airliners in a collision risk.

S. Tambur

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