Sweden scrambles Gripen fighter jets after Russian military plane enters airspace

A Russian AN-30 propeller plane flew toward Swedish airspace and briefly entered it before leaving the area, Swedish authorities said.

Sweden has said a Russian military plane has violated Swedish airspace. The incident happened late on Friday in the Baltic Sea near the island of Bornholm.

In a statement, the Swedish Armed Forces said a Russian AN-30 propeller plane flew toward Swedish airspace and briefly entered it before leaving the area.

The Swedish Air Force scrambled fighter jets which photographed the Russian plane.

Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist told Swedish public radio that the violation was “unacceptable” and “unprofessional.”

In a similar incident in early March, four Russian warplanes violated Swedish airspace over the Baltic Sea.

Denmark and Sweden are summoning Russia’s ambassadors to their countries after a Russian spy plane violated their airspace.

A Swedish Air Force photo of Russian Su-27 aircraft that violated Swedish airspace in an earlier incident east of Gotland on March 2, 2022 (photo by Swedish Air Force)

Authorities from both Denmark and Sweden reported that the Russian plane entered Danish airspace on Friday evening east of the Danish Baltic Island of Bornholm then entered Swedish airspace.

The Swedish foreign ministry also said the Russian ambassador would be summoned in Stockholm.

Sweden and neighbouring Finland are both considering NATO membership following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Moscow has warned that such a move would have consequences, without giving specifics.

NATO has also been forced to scramble fighter jets stationed near the Baltic and Black seas in recent days to “track and intercept” Russian aircraft near the alliance’s airspace.

NATO has tracked “a number of unidentified” aircraft over the Baltic and Black seas since Tuesday, and in response, it launched allied fighter aircraft from NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centres at Uedem, Germany, and Torrejon, Spain, the organisation said in a statement on Friday.

The airspace violation triggered swift reactions in Sweden, where Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist told local media that such action was “unprofessional” and “inappropriate” considering heightened tensions in the region due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Swedish defence ministry said in a statement that the incursion by the “Russian AN-30 propeller plane” was monitored and recorded.

Poland, Denmark, France, Spain, Romania, and Britain have scrambled fighters to investigate unknown aircraft approaching allied airspace. Denmark is already a member of the Western military alliance.

NATO said Russian aircraft never entered alliance airspace, and the interceptions were conducted in a “safe and routine manner”.

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