BRATISLAVA, August 29 (RIA Novosti) - Poland refused to let a plane carrying Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to enter its airspace Friday, forcing the aircraft to return back to Bratislava, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported.
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.
The Polish Interior Ministry is checking the information about the flyover denial for the plane of the Russian defense minister, a ministry spokesman told RIA Novosti.
“We are checking this information. The Polish Interior Ministry is not the authority that permits flights. However, we are trying to find out what happened,” the spokesman said.
Poland's Civil Aviation Office (ULC) also said it was checking reports of not letting Shoigu’s plane into its airspace.
“I cannot comment on these reports. We are checking this information,” ULC spokesperson Marta Chylinska told RIA Novosti.
The Slovak Interior Ministry confirmed that Shoigu’s plane landed in Bratislava after it was denied permission to fly over Poland and Ukraine, Reuters reported.
The Slovak Interior Minister is currently at the airport, discussing a solution to the situation with Sergei Shoigu.
“The Interior Minister is at the airport and is speaking with Sergei Shoigu. The minister is deciding on the next steps,” Interior Ministry representative Ivan Netik told RIA Novosti.
In May, a similar situation happened involving a plane carrying Russian politicians, including Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. The plane was forced to land in Chisinau, in Moldova, after both Ukraine and Romania closed their airspace to the Russian RusJet Yak-42.