South Korean fighters fired hundreds of warning shots at a Russian army plane that entered South Korean airspace on Tuesday, defense officers mentioned, while Russia vetoed breaching any airspace and accused South Korean pilots of being reckless.
It was the first time a Russian army aircraft had breached South Korean airspace, an official at the South Korean Ministry of National Defence said in Seoul.
The incident, which also involved Japan and China, could hamper ties and raise tension in a region that has for years been overshadowed by hatred between the USA and North Korea.
Two Russian Tu-95 planes and two Chinese H-6 bombers entered the Korea Air Defence Identification Zone (KADIZ) collectively early on Tuesday, the South Korean defense ministry said.
A separate Russian A-50 airborne early warning and control plane later twice breached South Korean airspace over Dokdo – an island that is filled by South Korea and also claimed by Japan, which names it Takeshima – after 9 a.m. (midnight GMT Monday), according to the South Korean army.
Russia’s defense ministry mentioned two Tu-95 strategic bombers carried out a planned flight; however, denied that they had breached South Korean airspace and said it didn’t recognize South Korea’s KADIZ.
There were no warning shots from the South Korean soldiers, the Russian defense ministry stated in an announcement, which made no mention of any A-50 plane.
A South Korean defense ministry spokesperson didn’t directly deal with the Russian charge of reckless behavior; however, stated that South Korea by no means said the Tu-95 bombers had entered its airspace.
China’s foreign ministry said South Korea’s air defense identification zone was not territorial airspace, and all countries enjoyed the liberty of movement in it.