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French plane spotted in Swedish airspace

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A Jas Gripen plane like this was reported to approach a Russian aircraft. Photo: TT
11:21 CET+01:00
Following unconfirmed reports that a Russian plane entered Swedish airspace on Saturday, the Swedish military has told The Local that the aircraft actually came from France.
"We can confirm that it was a French aircraft and now we have to investigate the details of this," Jesper Tengroth a press officer for the Swedish military told The Local on Monday.
 
His comments followed earlier allegations in Sweden's Expressen newspaper that a Russian plane was "a couple of kilometres on the wrong side of the border" but "quickly turned eastward" when a Swedish Jas Gripen plane approached.
 
Sweden's Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist could not be reached for comment on Monday by Swedish media including The Local.
 
It is unclear where Expressen's information came from.
 
Jesper Tengroth told The Local he was unable to give any further details about the French plane.
 
Commenting on the Swedish newspaper's false claims about Russia, he said:
 
"They have to take responsibility for their sources".
 
Officials in France have yet to comment on the Swedish military's confirmation of a French plane in Swedish airspace.
 
The claims about a possible Russian violation emerged just a day after Russia's President Vladimir Putin went on German television and insisted that his country had not violated international airspace.
 
"Our exercises exclusively take place in international waters and international airspace," he told German broadcaster ARD.
 
Last week, Sweden's top military commander said there was now "proof" that a foreign submarine had been in Swedish waters in October, but that it remained unclear what country the vessel had come from.
 
Following the announcement on Friday, Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist told The Local:
 
"I think that there is a new security situation in the Baltic area and in the Baltic Sea. We see more exercises, we see more intelligence activities".

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Last month, Swedish intelligence officials released a picture of a Russian jet flying closely beside a Swedish intelligence plane, in what they described as "a growing trend" in international airspace.
 
The news followed revelations in September that two Russian Su-24 fighter-bombers had been detected flying over Swedish airspace to the south of Öland. The planes were one kilometre inside Swedish territory for about 30 seconds.
 
Carl Bildt - who was Sweden's foreign minister at the time - described the flights as "the most serious aerial incursion by the Russians during my years as foreign minister".
 

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