A Russian Il-96-300 jet has landed at Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER), Germany, after taking off from Moscow despite an EU-wide airspace ban.
According to flight radar, the aircraft departed Moscow on Saturday, April 22, 2023, and landed at Berlin Airport at around 9 am.
The plane stayed for around three hours before flying back to Russia and landing at 15.30 local time.
Mystery surrounded the purpose of the fight with a representative of the German Air Force only telling the German news agency DPA, that the plane received special diplomatic permission.
The true reason for the flight came to light when Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Saturday that Moscow was expelling more than 20 German diplomats.
Russia reportedly said it took the decision in response to Germany ordering a “mass expulsion” of Russian diplomats.
“In response to Berlin’s hostile actions, the Russian side decided to expel German diplomats from Russia in a mirror manner, as well as significantly limit the maximum number of employees of German diplomatic missions in our country,” the Russian Foreign Ministry was reported saying according to TASS.
The German foreign ministry confirmed to German outlet Deutschlandfunk only that it had been in contact with Russian authorities regarding personnel questions.
It is understood that the Russian Il-96-300 jet collected the country’s expelled diplomats.