Swedish and Danish authorities say a Russian observation plane has violated both countries’ airspace in the evening of April 30, 2022.
According to reports in Danish media, the aircraft flew east of Bornholm, Denmark’s island in the Baltic sea. It entered up to a kilometer (0.8 miles) into the Danish airspace, before leaving and then entering Swedish airspace, where it spent over a minute.
The Twitter account of the Danish Armed Forces said the aircraft was intercepted by F-16 fighter jets of the Danish Air Force.
In their statement, the Swedish Armed Forces said that the aircraft – identified as the Antonov An-30 – has also been intercepted by fighter jets of the Swedish Air Force.
“The Swedish Incident Response Team followed the entire incident and photographed it.”, the statement said. A photo of the An-30 in an Open Skies livery has been posted alongside the statement.
The pictured aircraft is one of several An-30s that were used to monitor NATO military activity in accordance with the Open Skies Treaty. Russia withdrew from the treaty in 2021.
Produced between 1969 and 1980, the An-30 is an aerial survey version of the Antonov An-24 turboprop transport aircraft.
According to Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jeppe Kofod, the Russian ambassador to Denmark has been summoned to the country’s Foreign Ministry on May 2, 2022. The Russian ambassador to Sweden has been summoned over the incident as well.
The Chief of the Swedish Air Force Carl-Johan Edstrom, in his comments to the Swedish media, called the violation “Irresponsible and unprofessional”, adding that the violation may have not been deliberate, and made by mistake due to the aircraft flying too close to the border of the airspace.
“There is no reason to fly so close that you can accidentally enter a country’s territory, you may well be 10-15 kilometers from the border, then things like this do not have to happen,” Edstrom added.
This is the second time Sweden accuses Russia of grossly violating its airspace. In early March 2022 four Russian aircraft – including two bombers potentially armed with nuclear weapons – have allegedly been intercepted in Swedish airspace near the island of Gotland.