Aircraft that breached Finnish airspace was from Russian state, officials confirm

The incursion by a Russian aircraft occurred close to the coastal city of Porvoo, in southern Finland. (Yle)
Finland’s Border Guard has confirmed that the aircraft which breached Finnish airspace last week was owned by the Russian state.

The authority said on Thursday that it had completed its preliminary investigation into the incident, which took place on Wednesday, 17 July.

The aircraft had flown about one kilometre within Finnish airspace, travelling for a distance of about 25 km, according to the Border Guard.

However, the Border Guard said it still remained unclear who was operating the plane. The exact type of aircraft involved in the airspace violation was also not disclosed.

The agency added that since it was unable to determine the identities of the pilot of the aircraft, it was not possible to file charges in the incident.

The airspace incursion lasted around two minutes over the Gulf of Finland, nearby the southern coastal city of Porvoo, about 50 km east of Finland’s capital Helsinki. The Border Guard said it does not plan to report further about last week’s incident.

Second breach this year

Last week’s aispace violation was the second incident of its kind this year.

In April, Portugal’s Air Force confirmed that one of its surveillance aircraft had inadvertently entered Finland’s airspace. That incident took place above the Upinniemi peninsula in Kirkkonummi, on Finland’s southern coast.

Portugal said the maritime aircraft, a Lockheed P-3C CUP+, had been on a Nato-led Assurance Measures operation over the Baltic Sea between Finland and Estonia.

Estonia is a member of Nato, while Finland is not. But the country joined the military alliance’s Partnership for Peace in 1994 and entered a three-year agreement in 2017 to continue as an Enhanced Opportunity Partner.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Judge balks at plea deal for man who flew drone in airspace in Northern Canada, CBC News

Finland: Russian aircraft suspected of airspace violation in Finland, Yle News

Norway: Norway’s experience with F-35 fighter jets offers lesson for Canada, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden to buy U.S.-made Patriot air defence systems, Radio Sweden

United States: U.S. fighter jets intercept Russian aircraft west of Alaska, Radio Canada International

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