An alleged incursion into South Korea’s airspace on July 23, 2019, was down to a “device malfunction” from its aircraft, Russian officials reportedly said to the South Korean government.
Russian military officials were said to have expressed “deep regret.”
South Korea’s claim of an apology from Russia has not yet been verified. Business Insider had contacted Russia’s Ministry of Defence for comment.
The alleged apology comes after Russia’s defense ministry denied its aircraft intruded into South Korean airspace.
South Korean F-15K and F-16K fighter jets were scrambled after two Russian Tu-95 bombers accompanied by two Chinese H-6 bombers crossed into Korea’s air defense identification zone.
An F-15K Slam Eagle from the South Korean air force.
(US Air Force Photo)
The Russian aircraft were joined by their Chinese counterparts in what was the first long-range joint air patrol, according to South Korean officials.
A Russian A-50 observation aircraft was also spotted by South Korean and Japanese forces. The South Korean military said it fired flares and hundreds of machine-gun rounds near the Russian aircraft after it went beyond violating its air defense identification zone — a buffer around airspace controlled by a country — to intrude on its airspace proper.
In a statement, Russian military officials denied its Tu-95s received nearby fire but did not mention its A-50 aircraft, Reuters reported.
Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-95.
Russia accused South Korean jets of “unprofessional maneuvers” and miscommunication.
China claimed the airspace was not an exclusive territory for South Korea.
Russia has been accused of frequently coming close to violating the airspace of numerous countries, including the US and UK.
In May 2019, US F-22 stealth fighters were scrambled after Russian Tu-95s entered Alaska’s air defense identification zone.
After the Russian bombers left the zone, they returned with Russian Su-35 fighter jets, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
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