Media report that a NATO aircraft flew extremely close to a Russian airliner near the Kuril Islands

A military aircraft, presumably from a NATO country, approached a Russian passenger airliner which was flying from Sakhalin to the Kuril Islands. This was reported to Interfax by a source in law enforcement agencies.

"The night before last, the Russian Bombardier airliner departed from Sakhalin and, having ascended about six thousand meters, headed for the Kurils. However, the dispatchers detected an unidentified aircraft approaching the liner at the same altitude, which did not respond to requests from ground control," the news agency’s interlocutor said.

According to him, the aircraft illegally crossed the air corridor through which the liner was moving. "A decision was made to urgently descend the passenger airplane in order to avoid a dangerous approach or even a collision in the air,” the source said.

He added that the dispatchers subsequently repeatedly tried to establish contact with the unidentified aircraft, but the pilots would not respond. All they could do was to register the aircraft’s radar transponder signal. According to international classifications, the aircraft belongs to NATO.

No official comments on the incident have been received yet.

According to the online flight status board of the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk airport, it was the Bombardier aircraft of Aurora airline that departed from Sakhalin on January 5 at 02:20 a.m. MSK and flew to the Kuril Islands.

In November 2016, Swiss Air Force fighter jets accompanied a special aircraft with the Russian delegation and journalists from the Kremlin pool for 10 minutes. According to witnesses, the military aircraft were so close that the passengers of the Russian airliner could even discern their hull numbers.

  Russia, NATO, Aircraft