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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russia Update: October 20, 2015

Publication: Russia Update
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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russian Foreign Ministry Protests Air Incident with Speaker's Plane and Swiss Military Jet
Yesterday we reported an incident involving the approach of a Swiss military plane within eye contact of a Russian civilian airliner carrying Sergei Naryshkin, head of the State Duma to a converence of parliamentarians in Geneva. Russia issued a note of protest to Switzerland to Swiss envoy to Moscow Amb. Pierre Helg.

The Swiss military confirmed that the plane involved was a Swiss F/A 18 jet but denied any wrong-doing, saying the fighter jet was carrying out a routine identification check on a Russian plane in Swiss air space, RFE/RL reported.

Spokesman Peter Minder said the Swiss jet flew close enough to make visual contact with the Russian pilot, but there was no danger of a collision.

The Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement this afternoon on its website (translation by The Interpreter) regarding the incident.

The Swiss diplomat was given a decisive protest regarding the fact of the conduct of the defense ministry of Switzerland "air police" oversight of a Russian civilian aircraft by the air force, which the Russian government was not informed of in advance. Attempts by certain officials of Switzlerand to portray the incident as a standard procedure of inspection or as "escorting the Russian aircraft as a display of hospitality" regarding the speaker of the Russian parliament appear little convincing -- such steps in any event require agreement in advance.

Taking into account the regret expressed by the Swiss government, we call on Bern to avoid such risky incidents in the future and not place in doubt the reputation of its country as a place of holding important international events.


Switzerland made the decision last year not to go along with international sanctions imposed on Russia over the war in Ukraine. But then it created a blacklist of Russian figures such as Joseph Kobzonto prevent them from circumventing EU sanctions via Switzerland.

Switzerland's decision was made not only because it is neutral and not a member of the European Union but because last year, it chaired the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Under the Swiss chair-in-office, OSCE mounted the largest monitoring mission of a conflict in its history in southeastern Ukraine.

But some EU leaders, notably Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, said Switzerland only gained an advantage for its banks by not participating in the sanctions.

In the last year, there have been hundreds of incidents involving Russian encroachment of NATO airspace or sea.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

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