The Colombian government sent a formal protest to Moscow after a Russian transport aircraft deviated from its authorized flight path within Colombia’s airspace.

The incident took place on April 19, 2021, when an Ilyushin Il-96-400 VPU transport aircraft, on its way from Moscow, Russia, to Managua, Nicaragua, entered the Colombian airspace. The plane was identified as belonging to the Special Air Squadron of the Federal Security Service, Russian’s main intelligence agency.  While it was authorized to cross Colombia’s airspace, the plane did so from a different position than the one agreed between the authorities.

The Il-96-400 deviated from its authorized flight path above La Guajira, north of the country. As a result, a patrol of two IAI Kfir C.10 fighter jets of the Colombian Air Force were scrambled to intercept the Russian aircraft.

“The national air defense system detected that the aircraft had entered from a position different from that authorized,” the Colombian General Staff explained. “The Command and Control Center of the Colombian Air Force ordered an interception in accordance with Air interdiction procedures.”

"On behalf of the government [of Colombia], the Foreign Ministry sent an official note to the Russian Ambassador to Bogota, in which it expressed strong protest over the situation with a Russian plane that violated Colombia’s airspace on April 19," said Claudia Blum, Foreign Minister of Colombia. Over the days that preceded the incident, the Colombian Armed Forces carried out exercises in the region of La Guajira, which borders Venezuela.