Russia has warned the United Kingdom against a planned spy plane flight over its airspace, denouncing the move as a “deliberate provocation.”
In a statement on Tuesday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said the UK had sent a notice informing about a planned flight of its RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft along a route that partly passes over Russian territory, adding that the country’s air force had been instructed to prevent an intrusion.
“We regard this action as a deliberate provocation,” the ministry said, noting that the Russian air force had been “given the task to prevent the violation of the Russian border.”
“All possible consequences of this deliberate provocation will lie entirely with the British side,” the ministry said, without specifying when and where the British flight was planned to take place.
The statement comes at a time of heightened tensions between Russia and the West over Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine.
On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry said a Russian fighter jet had been scrambled to intercept a British RC-135 reconnaissance plane that had crossed the Russian border near the Svyatoi Nos cape between the Barents and the White Seas. The MiG-31 fighter jet forced the intruder out, the ministry said.
A UK Ministry of Defense spokesperson said, “A Russian MiG-31 jet conducted an unsafe close pass of an RAF RC-135W Rivet Joint aircraft as it carried out a routine operation in international airspace over the Norwegian and Barents Seas on Monday 15 August.”
“The UK aircraft was in communication with Russian civilian air traffic control and its crew operated in a safe and professional manner,” the spokesperson claimed.
Over the past years, Russia has also repeatedly warned the United Kingdom and the United States against sending their warships near the country’s territorial waters. Russia accuses the United States and NATO of provocative activities in Russian waters and airspace in the Black Sea.
Source: Agencies (edited by Al-Manar English Website)