US Spy Plane Dodged Russians —Via Swedish Airspace
US officials report 'incorrect' move
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 4, 2014 6:51 AM CDT
An RC-135 plane.   (Wikimedia Commons/ DefenseLINK)

(Newser) – With Russian aircraft nearing, a US reconnaissance plane recently swooped into Swedish airspace, the military says. "The aircraft commander, acting in a professional and safe manner, maneuvered the aircraft to avoid a possible encounter by Russian aircraft," the US European Command says, describing the July 18 incident. The encounter occurred in international airspace as the US RC-135 flew over the Baltic Sea, officials note, per the New York Times. The plane was conducting reconnaissance on Russia at the time, CNN reports, and Russia started tracking it using land-based radar—a rare move, an official says.

Swedish reports put the encounter near Kaliningrad, in a part of Russia wedged between Lithuania and Poland, the Times reports. The US aircraft then soared over Sweden's Gotland Island; it was sent there "incorrectly by US personnel," the military says. Swedish officials told the plane of the issue, and it left the country's airspace. Sweden isn't part of NATO, the Times notes. The US and Sweden will work to prevent a recurrence of the incident, the military says. The Times and CNN compare the encounter to similar incidents during the Cold War, noting that a Russian fighter jet veered close to a US plane near Japan in April.