Iceland says Russian military aircraft taking 'risks' near passenger jets
Russian military aircraft recently flew under an Icelandic passenger jet without being detected by radar, raising alarms about their risky behavior, Icelandic officials have said, RFE/RL reports.
The Icelandic Foreign Ministry said three Tupolev bombers flew between 1,800-2,700 meters below a commercial airliner flying from Reykjavik to Stockholm on September 22. The bombers' transponders were turned off, which meant they could not be detected by civilian radar.
The passenger jet's captain said he spotted the planes from the cockpit and thought their behavior was risky.
The ministry told AFP it 'has repeatedly objected to unidentified Russian military flights, due to the danger this may pose to passenger flights,' and would be doing so again.
Similar encounters between the Russian military and civilian planes have been reported in the Baltic region this year.
A Russian diplomat in Reykjavik, Aleksei Shadsky, said the bombers complied with international rules.
He suggested Icelandic officials were trying to 'revive fear' of Russia in an effort to reopen the Keflavik air base that the United States closed in 2006.
During World War II and the Cold War, Keflavik was an important U.S. base but its usefulness to the alliance dwindled after that.