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Russia Turned Back German Military Plane


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Russia Turned Back German Military Plane

By Alexander Szandar and Alexander Schwabe

Russian air traffic controllers denied a German military plane headed for Uzbekistan the right to fly over Russian territory on Wednesday. Moscow has since begun damage control and the flight took off again on Thursday.

A spokesman for the German air force, the Luftwaffe, has confirmed to SPIEGEL ONLINE that an Airbus carrying some 200 soldiers was denied flyover permission on Wednesday. The military plane was requested to turn back shortly before reaching Russian airspace.

The Russian authorities had turned back the aircraft on Wednesday citing the absence of so-called "diplomatic clearance," the flyover permission granted routinely to diplomatic flights.

The aircraft returned to Cologne/Bonn Airport after a refueling stop in Berlin. In the meantime, Moscow was in damage-control mode, and later on Wednesday it immediately issued a new permit to enter Russian airspace. The Airbus was reported to have taken off on its journey again on Thursday morning.

The aircraft was originally heading to the city of Termez in Uzbekistan on Tuesday to deliver soldiers and supplies to the German troop contingent in Afghanistan. But a sandstorm in the city delayed the flight for 24 hours.

Under normal circumstances, the army flies twice weekly to Termez to supply German troops in Afghanistan.

It is still unclear why the diplomatic clearance was not granted on Wednesday. The German Defense Ministry in Berlin was stumped by the Russian action. As the granting of diplomatic clearance is usually routine, permission would usually be given to enter Russian airspace, simply as an act of good will, even if there were no clearance for that exact flight.

Full story. Source Der Spiegel

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Hmmm.... a warning shot ? ("don't take our co-operation for granted")

Or deliberately setting a precedent ?

Nah - more likely just a c***-up.

Meow Purr.

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