The Russian Defense Ministry has called on the US Air Force to avoid endangering civilian passenger flights with their “unprofessional” actions.
A US defense attache has been summoned after an incident over the Sea of Japan near Russia’s eastern borders, where an American spy plane was detected flying too close to civilian aircraft.
According to Interfax, at least two passenger jets belonging to major European airlines were endangered over the neutral waters of the Sea of Japan on Sunday
Press TV reports:
On Monday, the ministry issued a statement criticizing the flight of a US reconnaissance RC-135 plane, which was detected in the close vicinity of a passenger aircraft over the Sea of Japan.
The statement claimed that the US plane had been flying with all of its transponders turned off and at the altitude used by civilian flights without informing air traffic controllers in the region—which is close to Russia’s eastern borders.
The statement noted that a US defense attaché has been summoned over the incident, and called on Washington to engage in measures to “avoid the repetition of such situations.”
“As the result of the unprofessional actions of the American plane crew, the hazard of a collision with civil aviation planes was created,” read part of the statement.
According to RT, at least two European civilian planes were endangered by the US plane which refrained from responding to any manner of radio contact.
The flight path of a KLM Boeing-777 — which was en route from Japan to the Netherlands — was changed as well as that of a Swiss airlines flight headed to Switzerland from Japan, which reported “visual contact with a large four-engine aircraft.”
This is not the first time US intelligence aircraft have caused trouble near Russian airspace. In January a Russian fighter jet was forced to intercept a US spy plane which was flying over the Black Sea. In April, Russian planes cut off a US aircraft “rapidly approaching the Russian border.” Following the incident, Russia’s Defense Ministry officially called on the US to refrain from sending planes towards it borders or at least, “Turn on transponders for automatic identification by our radars.”