Sweden says Russian military jet violated airspace

Photo: Försvarsmakten

Swedish fighter jets intercepted a Russian military aircraft after it briefly violated Sweden’s airspace on Friday east of the Baltic island of Gotland, the Nordic country’s armed forces said on Saturday.

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom called the airspace violation “unacceptable” and said officials from the Russian Embassy in Stockholm would be summoned to his ministry over the incident.

“We are in close contact with allies and partners about the events in our immediate area,” Billstrom told Reuters in emailed comments.

The Russian Embassy in Sweden did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sweden’s armed forces said in a statement that Gripen jets were sent up to intercept the Russian plane, an SU-24, after it failed to respond to a radio warning by military air traffic controllers.

Swedish air force chief Jonas Wikman said the incident showed a lack of respect for Sweden’s territorial integrity. “We followed the entire chain of events and were in place to intervene,” he said.

Friday’s incident took place as Sweden – NATO’s newest member – and several of its new allies take part in naval exercises in the Baltic Sea.

The Swedish military said similar violations by Russian aircraft last occurred in 2022 when two SU-27 and two SU-24 planes also violated its airspace near Gotland.

Sweden’s neighbour Finland said separately on Friday it suspected that four Russian military planes had violated its airspace on June 10.

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