The Swedish SIGINT plane was on a routine mission in international air space over the Baltic Sea between Gotland and the Baltics
As reported by The Local, Russia’s ambassador to Sweden has been summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Feb. 24, 2019 to explain why a Russian Navy Su-27 came within 20 meters of a Swedish military aircraft on Feb. 19.
The Swedish aircraft is likely a Gulfstream IV that is modified with Signals intelligence (SIGINT) payloads.
Foreign Ministry press spokeswoman Diana Qudhaib told SVT that the Russian ambassador will meet with the ministry’s head of European security policy on Feb. 25.
“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 Swedish SIGINT plane was on a routine mission in international air space over the Baltic Sea 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 meters of the Swedish plane. He said the “offensive behavior” 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 said.
Photo credit: Försvarsmakten