A Russian military jet nearly collided with a commercial passenger airplane in international airspace near southern Sweden on Friday, Swedish authorities said, but Russia insisted its jet had kept at a safe distance.
Passenger flight SK1755, operated by a unit of Scandinavian airline service SAS from the Danish capital Copenhagen to Poznan in Poland, was diverted by Swedish authorities before a collision occurred, the authorities said.
But Russia’s Defence Ministry on Sunday denied its plane had come close to colliding with a civilian airliner, official news agency TASS reported.
“A flight was carried out in strict accordance with international rules on air space and did not violate the borders of other countries and was at a safe distance from the flight paths of civilian airplanes,” Defence Ministry spokesman General Major Igor Konashenko was quoted as saying.
SAS also played down reports of a near collision, saying the two aircraft were at a safe distance from each other.
Relations between Russia and the West have soured in recent months over Moscow’s role in the conflict in Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea. Many European countries have cited suspected displays of Russian military prowess.
A squadron of Russian warships entered the English Channel last month and Sweden said it had proof a foreign submarine was operating illegally in its waters in October. Britain also launched a submarine search, helped by NATO allies.