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360 Warning Shots Fired at Russian Plane

South Korea, Japan claim A-50 violated airspace over East Sea island
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2019 7:11 AM CDT
A Russian A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft flies near the Korean-controlled island called Takeshima in Japanese on Tuesday.   (Joint Staff, Ministry of Defense via AP)

(Newser) – South Korea says it fired 360 warning shots early Tuesday as Russia violated its airspace for the first time in a confrontation involving four countries. South Korea's defense ministry claims two Russian Tu-95 bombers and two Chinese H-6 bombers spent some 24 minutes together in the Korea Air Defense Identification Zone before an unarmed Russian A-50 command and control aircraft twice violated the airspace above a disputed East Sea island, per CNN. Japan—which lays claim to the island of Takeshima along with South Korea, which calls it Dokdo—backed up that country's claims, while Russia told a different tale. In a statement making no mention of the A-50, it said the bombers were flying "over the neutral waters of the Sea of Japan" when South Korean fighter jets recklessly crossed their paths without any attempt to communicate, per Reuters.

South Korea, however, says 30 warnings sent to the A-50 went unanswered. It adds 80 warning shots were fired during the initial violation, followed by another 280. A spokesperson for Japan's Ministry of Defense says it also "took measures against the invasion." Therefore, Russia's goal might've been completed: Per CNN, "analysts said the mission may have been designed by Russia to draw out South Korean and Japanese aircraft for intelligence gathering purposes." Japan's government afterward sent strong rebukes to Russia and South Korea for airspace intrusions. The director of South Korea's National Security Office says he has also sent a complaint to the Security Council of Russia. "We are taking this situation very seriously, and if this kind of action is repeated, we will take even stronger measures," Chung Eui-yong says, per CNN. (Read more South Korea stories.)

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