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Sweden summons Russian ambassador after Baltic Sea fighter jet ‘incident’

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Sweden summons Russian ambassador after Baltic Sea fighter jet ‘incident’
A Swedish Armed Forces photo of the incident. Photo: Försvarsmakten
13:54 CET+01:00
Russia’s ambassador to Sweden has been summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to explain why a Russian fighter jet flew within 20 metres off a Swedish aircraft last week, public broadcaster SVT reported.
Foreign Ministry press spokeswoman Diana Qudhaib told SVT that the Russian ambassador will meet with the ministry’s head of European security policy on Monday. 
 
“The Foreign Ministry views this incident as serious. The Russian plane acted in an improper and unprofessional manner in a way that jeopardized flight safety,” Qudhaib told the broadcaster. 
 
The incident occurred last Tuesday when a Swedish surveillance plane was on a routine mission over the Baltic Sea. The Swedish aircraft was in international air space between Gotland and the Baltics when a Russian SU-27 fighter jet took off from Kaliningrad and approached the Swedish plane. 
 
According to Colonel Anders Persson, the Russian fighter jet pilot behaved aggressively. 
 
“First they passed from the front and they came back and positioned themselves very, very close – closer than usual,” he told news agency TT. 
 
Persson said that the Russian SU-27 was at one point within 20 metres of his plane. He said the “offensive behaviour” was likely a signal from Russia that it did not believe the Swedish plane “should be where we were”. 
 
The Swedish Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten) reported the incident to the government, and now the Foreign Ministry said it wants answers. 
 
“This took place over international waters and the Swedish plane was fully within its right to fly in the area,” Qudhaib said. 
 
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist called the incident "unacceptable".
 
"This was very unnecessary, provocative and very dangerous," he told SVT. 
 
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