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LSM: Russian aircraft violates Latvian airspace

Latvian flag.
Latvian flag. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

A Russian plane violated Latvia's airspace on November 6 (Monday), the Latvian Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday.

The type of aircraft involved was not specified, Latvian public broadcaster LSM reported.

In a statement, the ministry confirmed the breach: "Yesterday, November 6, the radar of the Air Force of the National Armed Forces recorded a violation of Latvian airspace on the border between Latvia and Russia by a Russian aircraft. After illegally crossing the border, the aircraft returned to Russian territory."

In response, an official from the Russian Embassy in Latvia was summoned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and handed a protest note about the incident.

NATO's Baltic Air Policing Unit is stationed in Estonia and Lithuania and responds to any incidents in Baltic air space.

NATO Baltic Air Policing jets at Estonia's Ämari Air Base. Source: Kaitseväe Peastaap / mil.ee

Russian military aircraft have breached Estonia's airspace in the past, but usually over Vaindloo Island in the Gulf of Finland. The incursions typically last for less than a minute.

However, no violations have been reported this year. There were three in 2022.

Last year, a spokesman for the Latvian Ministry of Defense told ERR News there had been no violations in Latvian airspace between 2014-2022: "There have been no airspace violations conducted by the Russian Air force, but allied fighter jets, whilst participating in the NATO Air Policing mission, regularly intercept Russian military aircraft flying close to Latvia's exclusive economic zone with their transponders turned off."

Russia's jets still regularly fly close to Baltic airspace on their way to Kaliningrad and the NATO Air Policing mission reported five scrambles between October 23-29. 

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Editor: Helen Wright

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