HELSINKI (AP) – NATO member Estonia said Thursday that a Russian air force plane violated its airspace in what the Baltic nation claimed was the sixth such incident this year by a Russian plane.
The alleged intrusion took place at noon on Wednesday when the Beriev A-50 aircraft entered Estonian airspace near the Baltic Sea island of Vaindloo and remained there for less than a minute, the Estonian military said in a statement. .
He added that the crew of the Russian plane had submitted a flight plan but could not maintain radio contact with the Estonian Air Navigation Services and had turned off the plane’s transponder.
The Estonian Foreign Ministry summoned Russian Ambassador Alexander Petrov to protest and gave him a note to Moscow about what it called a “very regrettable and serious incident.”
“Such a series of repeated violations (by Russian aircraft) is in no way acceptable,” the Estonian ministry added.
Vaindloo, a small island that belongs to Estonia, is located near a corridor where Russian planes fly from the St. Petersburg area to Kaliningrad, the Baltic Sea enclave of Russia located between Poland and Lithuania.
Estonia, a member of the European Union, has recorded numerous air rapes by Russian civilian and military aircraft in recent years and has held repeated protests in Moscow.
Relations between Estonia and neighboring Russia have remained cold since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The two countries have yet to ratify a border treaty 30 years after Estonia, a former Soviet republic, regained its independence in August 1991.