Repeat Airspace Violation in Vaindloo Area

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11/21/2013 12:29 PM

A Russian Federation military airplane entered Estonian airspace without permission at 23:16 on Wednesday.

Originating from Kaliningrad, the Tu-134 aircraft intruded near the island of Vaindloo, off the northern coast of Estonia.

It flew half a nautical mile deep into Estonian airspace. The incident lasted about a minute, a press release from the Defense Forces said.

The violation was recorded by the Estonian aviation operational control center in Ämari air base. The plane was in radio contact with the Estonian control center and its transponder was switched on.

In the last seven years, such incidents have taken place seven times.

Marko Mihkelson, head of Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, has said in previous incidents that recurring intrusions near the island are more a misunderstanding than a provocation.

“The Vaindloo problem is not that it is a preferred destination for airspace violations, but the area is a relic of the Soviet times, where Russian air traffic control overlaps with Estonian airspace,” Mihkelson had said.

On the other hand, the MP said, a clear example of provocation was when Russian fighter jets flew over Hiiumaa and Tallinn in 2003, shortly before Estonia joined NATO.

Mihkelson said Estonia should take the initiative to open negotiations in shifting the air traffic control area.

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