Edited time: August 29, 2014 16:04
Poland and Ukraine close airspace to Russian defense minister’s plane
Poland and Ukraine have refused overflight rights to the plane of Russia’s defense minister, Sergey Shoigu, who was on his way from Slovakia. The plane has landed in Bratislava.
The minister was returning from the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Slovakian national uprising that took place in the town of Banská Bystrica.
However, Poland banned entrance into its airspace for the Tu-154 plane, according to a RIA Novosti correspondent who was on board, citing one of the crewmembers.
The plane had to take a U-turn and landed in Bratislava an hour later.
The crewmember added that the return route of the plane was the same as the outward one.
“There were no problems with flying over Poland this morning. It emerged in the evening, and without any explanation,” he said.
Negotiations are being held on the matter at the moment. All the passengers are now on board the plane.
The Russian Embassy in Poland is aware of the situation with the Defense Minister’s plane, and is trying to resolve it with the Polish authorities, the embassy’s press attaché said.
“I can confirm that the embassy is in the loop in this situation and is working on resolving the situation as soon as possible. The work is being conducted with the Polish authorities,” Valeria Perzhinskaya told Interfax.
The Polish Civil Aviation Authority is checking the information about Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu’s plane, the organization’s press secretary told RIA Novosti.
“It is too early to comment, we are checking all the circumstances that led to this occurrence,” a spokesman for the Polish state air navigation agency said, Reuters reported.
The Slovak Interior Ministry has confirmed that Shoigu’s plane landed in Bratislava after it was denied permission to fly over Poland and Ukraine.
The Slovak Interior Minister is currently at the airport, discussing a solution to the situation with Sergey Shoygu.
“The Interior Minister is at the airport and is speaking with Sergey Shoygu. The minister is deciding on the next steps,” Interior Ministry representative Ivan Netik told RIA Novosti.
Meanwhile, during the celebrations Slovak premier Robert Fico said that Slovakia is set to oppose any new sanctions on Russia at a meeting of EU top officials which is scheduled for Saturday.
“Economic sanctions based on unverified data are ineffective and unfair,” Fico said.
In May, a similar situation happened involving a plane carrying Russian politicians, including Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. The plane was forced to land in Chisinau, in Moldova, after both Ukraine and Romania closed their airspace to the Russian Rusjet Yak-42.
Copyright © 2014 Russia Today
Reprinted with permission from Russia Today.