U.S. spy plane nearly caused mid-air ‘catastrophe’: Russia

Photo used for representative purpose only.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Moscow has said that a U.S. plane threatened civilian aircraft but “catastrophe” was avoided when a Russian passenger plane dived to avoid the NATO reconnaissance aircraft that crossed its path above the Black Sea.

On Friday morning, a NATO CL600 reconnaissance aircraft descended rapidly across the planned route for a Tel Aviv to Moscow Aeroflot service with 142 people on board, Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency said in a statement.

The Aeroflot flight reportedly had to drop 500 metres (1,600 feet) to keep its distance from the reconnaissance aircraft, which the pilots saw from the cockpit with the naked eye.

A second plane, a smaller CL650 aircraft, flying from the Black Sea resort Sochi to Skopje, also had to divert to avoid the spy plane, the Russian air transport authority said on Saturday.

“The direction and altitude of the commercial flights were immediately altered” to avoid a collision, the agency said, adding that the unknown plane did not respond to radio hails from air traffic control.

While the Federal Air Transport Agency did not say which nation had operated the spy plane, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova indicated on Sunday that the reconnaissance aircraft belonged to the United States.

“The actions of the US Air Force have created a threat to civil aviation,” Ms. Zakharova said.

“If now a catastrophe in the airspace over the open waters of the Black Sea has been averted, this does not mean that the United States and NATO can continue to risk people’s lives with impunity.”

The Federal Air Transport Agency said it would lodge a diplomatic protest.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 5:04:21 PM |

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