By now we are accustomed to hearing about US spy planes flying recon missions that are either infringing or extremely close to infringing on the borders of other countries – especially Russian borders.
A US defense attache has been summoned by Russia’s Defense Ministry to explain why a US spy plane was not only flying close to Russia’s border on Sunday, but dangerously close to civilian aircraft as well. The US crew had not provided any information regarding its flight to air traffic controllers in the region, despite flying at the same altitude as scheduled civil aviation flights, and at least two passenger jets belonging to major European airlines were endangered by the then unknown aircraft according to Interfax. Planes headed to Switzerland from Japan even even reported visual contact with the US plane.
It’s also important to note that the spy plane had its transponders turned off, something that Russia explicitly said not to do if the US is going to be sniffing around Russia’s borders.
“As the result of the unprofessional actions of the American plane crew, the hazard of a collision with civil aviation planes was created,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said, adding that it asked the US official to take measures to prevent such incidents from happening near Russia’s borders in the future.
At least two passenger jets belonging to major European airlines were endangered by the then-unknown aircraft over the neutral waters of the Sea of Japan on Sunday, Interfax reported.
The “unknown aircraft” was flying at the altitude of some 11,000 meters (36,000 feet) and did not respond to air traffic control, the agency said citing its source. Russian air controllers had to immediately change the flight path of a KLM Boeing-777, which was in the same region en route from Japan to Holland.
Pilots from another airplane, operated by Swiss airlines, heading to Switzerland from Japan, even reported “visual contact with a large four-engine aircraft, which was in direct proximity to their plane” and sent no recognition signals, the source said. The flying altitude for the Swiss jet also had to be changed by the air traffic control.
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Clearly the US needs to stop with these missions before someone gets hurt and an international incident is triggered, however knowing that will never happen, might we suggest that the US at least get to the point where its spying isn’t detected every single time.
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