MOSCOW, August 29 (RIA Novosti) - The Tu-154 plane carrying Russian defense minister safely landed at the Chkalovsky military airport outside Moscow Friday night, after a Poland’s refusal to let the plane fly in its airspace, a RIA Novosti correspondent on board the plane said.
Earlier in the day, Poland's ground control blocked the plane with Sergei Shoigu on from crossing its airspace. The plane had to turn around and land in Slovakia. It took off from Bratislava after Poland finally allowed the flyover after talks with the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The Russian ministry said Poland's behavior was "a blatant violation of international norms and the diplomatic code of ethics" and would "entail an appropriate response from Russia."
Shoigu was returning from the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Slovakian national uprising that took place in the town of Banska Bystrica.
Poland’s armed forces spokesman, Lt. Col. Piotr Walatek, told RIA Novosti that the flyover incident was due to pilots' mistake. The Russian flight had a civilian status when it left Moscow, while a military flyover can only take place if the aviation authorities are informed no later than 72 hours before the flight.
Poland’s state air navigation services agency also said it barred the plane from entering Poland’s airspace because the Russian authorities had requested the passage of a civilian jet, not a military one. The agency added that the plane could only be allowed to fly over Poland if the flight status is changed to "non-military."