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Russia denies near miss with Copenhagen flight

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Russia denies near miss with Copenhagen flight
Danish F-16s were sent to meet and identify the Russian aircraft. Photo: Christian Als/Scanpix
11:32 CET+01:00
The Russian military doesn't deny that one of its planes was near a Cimber commercial flight, but says there was no danger of "an aviation incident".
Russia's defence ministry on Sunday denied a report by Swedish military that a Russian military plane nearly collided this week with a passenger plane that had just left Copenhagen Airport.
 
Russia's defence ministry did not deny that its plane was in the area of southern Sweden at the time of the incident on Friday, but said that it was at a safe distance of more than 70 kilometres (43 miles) from the flight path of the passenger jet.
 
The incident happened amid growing concern in the Baltic region over signs of more assertive Russian behaviour, including Russian planes skirting or violating the national airspace of Denmark, Sweden and other area countries.
 
"There were no conditions for an aviation incident connected to the flight on Friday December 12 of a Russian military plane in the international airspace over the Baltic Sea," defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told TASS news agency.
 
"The distance from the flight path of the passenger jet that took off from Copenhagen was more than 70 kilometres," he added.
 
The spokesman confirmed the Swedish defence ministry's statement that the Russian plane was flying without an electronic identification device called a transponder that would have made it visible on the radar of a commercial plane.
 
Sweden's Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist described flying without a transponder as "irresponsible".
 
But the Russian military spokesman countered that military planes from Nato countries that fly in airspace close to Russia's borders are also "always carried out with the transponder switched off".
 
"This doesn't mean that Russia's means of controlling the airspace do not spot them," he said.
 
Information provided by the flight monitoring site Flightradar24 has indicated that the involved commercial aircraft was flight SK1755, an SAS flight operated by Danish carrier Cimber that was on its way to Poznan in Poland from Copenhagen Airport. 
The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter analysed radio traffic between Sweden's military air traffic control and the pilot. It stated that the plane, which was departing from Kastrup airport in Copenhagen, was given clearance to climb to 25,000 feet only to be told three minutes later to stop the climb at 22,00 feet.
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