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On Way to Helsinki, Putin Violated NATO Airspace

Estonian military rep cites a 'long pattern' of such Russian violations
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2018 8:01 AM CDT
Russia's new ambassador to Finland Pavel Kuznetsov, left, escorts Russian President Vladimir Putin as he disembarks a plane in Helsinki on Monday.   (Roni Rekomaa/Lehtikuva via AP)
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(Newser) – Two Russian military planes, including one carrying President Vladimir Putin to Helsinki, Finland, briefly entered NATO airspace without clearance on Monday, according to Estonia. Roland Murof, a spokesman for the Estonian military, says Putin's Ilyushin-96 airplane crossed 1.7 miles into Estonian territory near the island of Vaindloo over 50 seconds without having filed a flight plan or contacted air traffic control, reports the New York Times. It follows "a long pattern" of such airspace violations by Russia, which "go up when something political is going on," Murof adds, indicating that the incursion was meant to show NATO's supposed vulnerability in the Baltic Sea. The AP describes two other violations last week. (Read more Russia stories.)

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