Russian government's aircraft violated Estonian airspace

A Russian government aircraft, allegedly with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on board, violated Estonia's airspace, as reported by Postimees, citing the Estonian Defense Forces.

The IL-96 aircraft is owned by the state-run aviation enterprise, Rossiya, which is subordinate to the Office of the President of the Russian Federation. The plane violated Estonian airspace on the evening of May 3rd near the island of Vaindloo.

According to Estonian Defense Forces, the aircraft flew with the transponders turned off and did not provide a flight plan to the air traffic control services of Estonia. Additionally, the crew did not respond to the requests of the Estonian dispatchers.

Russian high-ranking officials travel on IL-96 planes. According to the Flightradar website, on Wednesday evening the route of the plane, on which Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was flying to Finland for an official visit, ran near the island of Vaindloo.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia informed the Russian embassy about the incident.

Russia denied the accusations. The representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova, told Estonian Aktuaalne kaamera (Current Camera) TV program that Tallinn has not provided any documents concerning the violation of its airspace.

"Lavrov flew to Finland for a visit. All the documents were agreed upon. The flight went on as usual. The crew did not receive any warnings. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not received any documents regarding the violation," said Zakharova.

In 2016, Russian military aircraft violated the airspace of Estonia seven times. This is the first such incident this year. In late April it was reported that Estonia will begin marking the water border with Russia starting in May.

  Lavrov, Estonia, Russia