The Russian Defense Ministry has commented on the statement made by Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist saying a Russian military plane had nearly collided with a commercial airliner en route from Copenhagen.
"There were no preconditions for the air accident associated with the flight of a Russian military plane in the international airspace over the Baltic Sea on Friday, December 12," Russian Defense Ministry official Major-General Igor Konashenkov told Interfax.
"The flight took place in strict accordance with the international regulations governing the use of the airspace, without violating of the borders of other countries and at a safe distance from the routes of commercial airlines," he said. The distance to the route of the commercial airliner en route from Copenhagen was over 70 kilometers.
"The statement by the Swedish defense minister on the alleged 'invisibility' of the Russian military plane to the Swedish air traffic control services caused by a disabled transponder is false," Konashenkov said.
Konashenkov also reiterated that military planes of NATO countries always fly without transponders in the international airspace near the Russian borders, adding that the intensity of such flights more than tripled in the past few months.
"However, this does not mean that Russian air traffic control services don't see them. By the way, a NATO reconnaissance plane RS-135 was seen in the area between the Russian plane and the route of a commercial airliner flying from Copenhagen on December 12," he said.
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