Updated 10:43 a.m. Moscow time
MOSCOW, September 9 (RIA Novosti) – The flyover of two Russian aircraft over the Black Sea was planned and in accordance with international law and they did not approach a Canadian Navy vessel in the area, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Gen.-Maj. Igor Konashenkov said Tuesday.
“On September 7, 2014, the crew of two aircraft, an Su-24 and an An-26, from the Russian Air Force successfully completed planned flights over neutral waters of the Black Sea in the area of the state borders of the Russian Federation. The Russian Air Force planes’ flight path ran through a region where a ship from the Canadian Navy, the Toronto, was located but did not approach the foreign warship,” Konashenkov said.
A supersonic attack Su-24 Fencer and a turboprop military transport An-26 Curl completed scheduled flights over the Black Sea on Sunday.
Earlier, the Canadian Ministry of National Defense announced that Russian aircraft had made a flyover of the Canadian ship during NATO exercises in the Black Sea.
“While the Russian military aircraft that circled the HMCS Toronto did not in any way pose a threat to the Canadian ship, their actions were unnecessarily provocative and risk escalating tensions even further,” Canadian Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said in a statement published on the official website of the Government of Canada Monday.
At the NATO Summit held on September 4 and 5 in Wales, NATO member states agreed to expand the alliance’s command and logistics infrastructure in Eastern Europe and to form a new force of several thousand troops ready to mobilize quickly in case an alliance country comes under attack.
Russia’s envoy to the alliance Alexander Grushko commented on September 5 that NATO used the military crisis in Ukraine as a pretext to boost its military presence near Russian borders. The Russian diplomat characterized the alliance’s role in the Ukrainian crisis as “extremely destructive.”
NATO began to step up its military presence on Russia’s borders since Crimea broke away from Ukraine to join Russia following a referendum held in March. The bloc has strengthened its naval presence in the Black Sea and has intensified air patrols in the airspace of the Baltic countries.