The Russian foreign ministry confirmed on Friday that a special flight with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on board crossed the Gulf of Finland on Wednesday, but that the flight had been agreed on beforehand and had proceeded routinely. The plane violated Estonian airspace near the island of Vaindloo.
“Lavrov flew to Finland to a visit,” a spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry told Russia’s TASS news agency. “All flight documents had been agreed on.”
“The flight was conducted following a routine regime. The crew received no warnings,” the spokesman added.
The Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) said earlier on Friday that an Ilyushin IL-96 aircraft belonging to airline Rossiya, which is owned by the Russian presidential administration, had entered Estonian airspace without permission on Wednesday evening.
While the Russian aircraft was flying with its transponder switched on, a flight plan had not been presented to the Estonian Air Navigation Services by the time the plane entered Estonian airspace. There was no radio contact either.
Spokespeople in Tallinn said that this was the first time that a Russian aircraft had made an unauthorized incursion into the Estonian airspace this year. The Foreign Ministry has notified the Russian embassy.
In 2016, Russian aircraft violated Estonian airspace on seven occasions.
Editor: Dario Cavegn