Russia denies violation of Japan's airspace

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Moscow, Feb 9 (UNI) Russian Air Force today denied that its military plane violated Japanese airspace.

''Russian Air Force planes performed their planned duties and did not violate Japan's airspace,'' Russian Air Force spokesman Col.

Alexander Drobyshevsky told Interfax news agency.

''Strategic aircraft flights went according to plan strictly in compliance with international regulations on the use of airspace over neutral waters, without violating boundaries of other counties,'' he explained.

The Far Eastern Air Force and Air Defence Force combined command headquartered in Khabarovsk had told the agency earlier that no flights were planned on the weekend.

Japanese authorities had claimed that a Russian military plane entered Japanese airspace for three minutes.

The incident allegedly took place in the southern part of the Izu islands near Tokyo. Twenty-four Japanese planes were scrambled to intercept the TU-95 bomber.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry has expressed a strong protest to Russia in connection with the fact that, as the Japanese Defence Ministry reported, ''A Russian Air Force plane was detected in the Japanese air space near the Izu islands southwest of Tokyo today.

The protest and the demand to prevent recurrence of such incidents were lodged to the Russian Embassy, Itar-Tass reported.

Four Russian Air Force Tu-95MS strategic missile carrier aircraft carried out an air patrol mission over the Pacific Ocean today, the Russian Air Force spokesperson Drobyshevsky informed Itar-Tass.

UNI XC SZ MIR KP1737

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