Russian Planes Stray Into Israeli Airspace

YERUSHALAYIM -

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon confirmed on Sunday that a Russian jet had entered Israeli airspace recently, but that bilateral cooperation prevented any mishap of the kind that occurred with Turkey.

Yaalon’s statement came in response to a disclosure made by Amos Gilad, director of the political-security bureau in the Defense Ministry, who said the Russians violated Israeli airspace more than once in recent days.

“Russian air force pilots at times cross into Israeli airspace. [But] thanks to the excellent security coordination [between Israel and Russia], which started right after the meeting between [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu and Putin [two months ago], the IDF and the Russian military agreed on security arrangements,” Gilad said.

Acknowledging the matter of the stray jet on Israel Radio, Yaalon said the problem was “immediately fixed through communications channels.”

Yaalon described the manner of  cooperation: “From the beginning, of course, [the Russians] notify when they are nearing our territory; it’s part of the coordination channel and we don’t hamper them from acting and we don’t interfere as a policy,” he said. “This is what happens in Syria and it’s good that it’s like that; they also don’t hamper us from flying and acting according to our interests.”