Russia’s initiative to enhance security in the Baltic Sea region, which was proposed to Baltic States and Nordic States mentions that military aircraft have to switch on transponders and inform neighbouring countries of their flight paths in advance, as reported by Russian newspaper Izvestiya on Friday.
An informed source told the newspaper that Russia wishes to encourage neighbouring countries to exchange information about flight plans and planned exercises, as well as ensure aircraft flying in the Baltic Sea region have transponders turned on.
«Experts believe such a step will help reduce tension in the airspace above the Baltic Sea, where NATO’s and Russia’s military activity has been on a rise lately,» – Izvestiya writes.
The informed source added that this initiative primarily applies to military aircraft.
«Russia is prepared to secure transparency to its aviation activity above the Baltic Sea. In exchange, Russia expects the same from NATO member states, Sweden and Finland, whose air forces have significantly increased their presence in the region since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis,» the article mentioned.
It is added that «Moscow is greatly concerned about British and American RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft flights with turned off transponders.»
Izvestiya notes that «Russia’s proposal is based on an initiative of President Vladimir Putin, who, during his visit to Finland on 1 July, supported his colleague’s [Sauli Niinisto] proposal to prohibit flights with turned off transponders above the Baltic Sea».
Head of Russian Defence Ministry’s International Military Cooperation Office Sergei Koshelov has confirmed that Moscow is prepared to discuss matters related to security in the Baltic Sea with defence ministries of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Sweden and Finland, Izvestiya reports.
Russia’s side has expressed an offer to organize consultations to enhance security in the Baltic Sea region. This offer is currently being considered by NATO, as LETA was told by Latvia’s Defence Ministry this week. Once the proposal has been properly analysed, Russia will be provided with an answer, the ministry noted, adding that Latvia is interested in enhancing security and transparency in the Baltic Sea region.
Estonia’s Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas announced on Thursday that Estonia will not engage with Russia in separate talks about security matters, because he believes security matters related to Russia should be discussed by all NATO member states together.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius will review Russia’s proposal with colleagues. Linkevicius added that all of Russia’s promises and proposals have to be viewed in accordance with Russia’s behaviour.
Incidents involving Russia’s and other countries’ war ships and aircraft are a common sight in the airspace and waters of the Baltic Sea. Russia and NATO accuse one another of allowing each other’s aircraft to fly with transponders turned off.