NATO denies Moscow’s claims of near-crash
- Propeller aircraft was flying from Russia’s Sakhalin peninsula to the Kuril Islands
- Reports claim it was forced into sharp descent amid fears a jet was approaching
- A security source has since claimed that the unknown plane was a NATO jet
- The passenger airline involved has denied the incident took place while NATO said it had no aircraft under its command in the area at the time
(Daily Mail) – A passenger plane was forced to drop sharply to avoid a mid-air crash with a NATO jet, Russia has claimed.
The commercial propeller aircraft was flying off Russia’s east coast when it was forced into performing the emergency action, according to a security source in the country.
Air traffic controllers spotted the two planes approaching one another as the Russian Aurora Airlines flight – a subsidiary of Aeroflot – was making its way from Sakhalin peninsula to the Kuril Islands, reports in Russia claim.
It was forced to make an emergency descent when the unknown jet entered its ‘air corridor’, according to the Interfax news agency.
Authorities are said to have made attempts to contact the unidentified military aircraft, but did receive a response from their radio signals.
But the Moscow Times reports that the jet’s radar transporter was recorded and that a security source said it belonged to a NATO aircraft.
The claim has not been confirmed and NATO told MailOnline today: ‘There were no aircraft under NATO command in the region in question.’
Aurora Airlines told RIA Novosti that the claims were ‘complete nonsense’ and that the incident ‘never happened’.
The reports surfaced at a time of heightened tensions between Russian president Vladimir Putin and the West.
There have been few recent examples of NATO planes violating Russian airspace, but frequent reports have surfaced of Putin’s jets being intercepted by Western jets.
In October, a pair of Russian Blackjack bombers were intercepted by fighter jets from four European countries as they flew from the direction of Norway to northern Spain and back.
Britain, France, Norway and Spain all scrambled warplanes as the TU-160 planes ‘skirted’ the airspace of each country.
The UK deployed RAF fighter jets then intercepted Russian bombers nearing UK airspace twice in four days.
The Russian military aircraft flew in an ‘area of interest’ off the coast of Scotland in the middle of the night on October 12 and again on October 16, the MoD revealed.
Typhoon jets from RAF Lossiemouth near Elgin, Scotland, were scrambled in response, supported by Voyagers from Brize Norton.