Saturday 10 December 2016

French jet 'flew dangerously close' to plane carrying senior Russian politician, Moscow claims

Published 19/10/2015 | 15:31

Sergei Naryshkin
Sergei Naryshkin

A French military jet was involved in a dangerous incident with an aircraft carrying the speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament, Russia's foreign ministry said on Monday.

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The ministry said it had summoned the French ambassador in Moscow to protest over the incident, which happened earlier on Monday. It complained in a statement of "a dangerous proximity between a French air force jet in its national airspace and an airliner carrying a Russian parliamentary delegation."

The ministry said the delegation, headed by parliamentary speaker Sergei Naryshkin, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had been heading to Geneva, in Switzerland, to attend an international meeting of parliamentarians.

"The ambassador was informed of Russia's deep concern over what happened. It was underlined that such actions by Paris undermine the possibility of using France as a venue for conducting international meetings and talks," the ministry said.

Earlier this month, Putin travelled to Paris to take part in talks on the conflict in Ukraine along with French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

There has been an uptick in the number of near-miss type incidents involving NATO and Russian military aircraft since the Ukraine conflict caused a surge in tensions.

NATO member states have accused Russian military jets in particular of flying dangerously close to Western military and civilian aircraft on numerous occasions. Moscow has denied breaking any aviation rules.

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