BRATISLAVA, August 29 (RIA Novosti) – Poland has permitted flyover for the plane of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, which had to return to Bratislava Friday after Poland refused to let it into its airspace, the aircraft’s first pilot told RIA Novosti Friday.
“The plane was permitted to fly from Bratislava to Moscow via the airspace of Poland. The flyover permission was received for the whole route from Bratislava to Moscow,” he said.
The plane is currently being refueled, according to a crew member.
“The plane is now being refueled at the airport of Bratislava. A takeoff permission has already been issued, but the route is yet unknown,” the crew member said.
Reuters reported, citing Poland’s air navigation authority that the plane would be allowed to fly in Poland’s airspace when the flight status is changed to “non-military.”
Earlier in the day, Shoigu was returning from the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Slovakian national uprising that took place in the town of Banska Bystrica. Shortly after takeoff, the pilots were informed by ground control that Poland refused to let the plane cross the Polish airspace. The plane made a U-turn and landed in Bratislava about an hour later.
Later, the Polish authorities said they denied the plane the entry because the Russian authorities had requested the passage of a civilian jet, not the military one. Slovakia’s Interior Ministry said Ukraine joined Poland in closing its airspace to Shoigu’s plane.