US officials have confirmed Swedish media reports of a mid-July incident in which an American spy plane invaded Sweden’s airspace as it was evading a Russian fighter jet. The maverick plane was spying on Russia when it was intercepted.
The incident, which happened on July 18, went public last Wednesday after a classified document from Sweden’s Defense Ministry was leaked to the press.
The plane, a Boeing RC-135 Rivet Joint, entered Sweden’s airspace after permission to do so was denied by traffic control, Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper said. It passed from the east over the island of Gotland and flew more than 200km over 90 minutes before leaving.
The aerial incursion was caused by a Russian fighter jet, which scrambled from a base in the exclave Kaliningrad Region and approached the American reconnaissance plane.
Neither party involved in the incident confirmed or denied it, but a source in the US military told CNN on weekend that it indeed happen.