Finland monitors Russian jets after making airspace violation accusations

PORVOO, Finland, Oct. 7 (UPI) — Finland’s Ministry of Defense says Russia violated its airspace twice in the last 24 hours in the Gulf of Finland, and Friday morning a NATO envoy accused Russia of violating Estonia’s airspace as well.

A Russian Su-27 fighter jet violated Finnish airspace twice in 24 hours, according to a statement from Finland’s Ministry of Defense, though Russia claims it was carrying out a training flight over neutral waters in the bay and did not enter Finland.

The Finnish Air Force was scrambled both times, spotting and identifying the fighter jets over Finland within about four hours of each other. The Finnish defense ministry called Russia’s aviation over the Baltic Sea “intense.”

“A Russian Su-27 combat plane on October 6, 2016 carried out a training flight over neutral waters of the Bay of Finland,” the Russian Ministry of Defense said in a statement. “The plane did not deviate from the established route, which is confirmed by means of objective monitoring.”

Friday morning, Estonia’s ambassador to NATO, Lauri Lepik, posted on Twitter that another Su-27 had violated that country’s airspace.

Lepik tweeted that Russian air activity had increased during the previous 48 hours and Russia’s ambassador was called to the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

NATO has complained publicly about Russian military flights in the Baltic, where they are known to fly patrol missions from the Arctic to the North Atlantic on a regular basis to test the response of the 28-nation military alliance.

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