Russian bombers provoke war in the Far East

The first Russian-Chinese air patrol outraged Seoul and Tokyo.
Joint Russian-Chinese aerial exercises provoked a small international scandal. The airplanes of Moscow and Beijing flew this morning near the disputed islands of Tokto (Takeshima, from the Tokyo point of view) located between Japan and South Korea. South Korean fighters were raised to intercept, according to Seoul, warning shots in the direction of Russian aircraft. The Russian Defense Ministry has denied this information, stating that “if Russian pilots felt a security threat, the answer would not keep them waiting.” The ministry also added that they acted in accordance with international law. Immediately after the incident, South Korea lodged a claim to Russia and China, and then to South Korea and Russia - from Japan.

As the South Korean authorities stated, the A-50 long-range radar detection and control aircraft at 9:01 am Korean time violated the identification zone of the Korean air defense, and at 9:09 it entered the airspace of South Korea. At 9:12 he left him, and at 9:15 he went out of the identification zone. Then, at 9:28, he returned to the South Korean air defense identification zone, and at 9:33 again violated the country's airspace, leaving it after four minutes. Alarmed South Korean fighters KF-16 fired 20 flares towards the Russian aircraft and fired 80 and 280 shots during the first and second violations.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of South Korea reported that this is the first violation of Russian airspace in the history of the country.

The version of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation diverges from the South Korean. “According to objective monitoring, the route of the Tu-95MS aircraft passed without deviations from the plan in accordance with international regulations more than 25 km away from the Dokdo Islands (Takeshima), without disturbing South Korea’s airspace,” the agency said. They also added that there was no warning fire from the South Korean fighters. “If Russian pilots felt a security threat, the answer would not be long in coming,” the Defense Ministry said. As for the air defense identification zone, “such zones are not provided for by international rules and are not recognized by the Russian Federation, which was repeatedly reported to the South Korean side through various channels.”

This zone was unilaterally established by the South Korean authorities in 2013 in response to the creation of a similar zone by China.

The Russian Ministry also confirmed that the flights of Russian long-range aviation in this area were carried out as part of the first Russian-Chinese air patrols "with the aim of developing Russian-Chinese relations of a comprehensive partnership ... and also strengthening global strategic stability." On the Russian side, in addition to the A-50U (from the Ivanovo air base), two Tu-95MS strategic bombers (from the Ukrainka air base in the Amur Region) capable of carrying nuclear weapons participated.

On the Chinese side, two H-6 bombers (an improved version of the Soviet Tu-16 developed in the 1950s) capable of carrying nuclear weapons took part in the patrol. They, according to South Korean intelligence, also entered the South Korean air defense identification zone, but did not violate the country's airspace.

Russian planes flew near the Dokdo Islands (Takeshima), because of which since the beginning of the 20th century there has been a dispute between Korea and Japan. As a result, Maxim Volkov, Charge d'affaires of the Russian Federation in South Korea, and Qiu Gohong, ambassador of the People's Republic of China in this country were called to the South Korean Foreign Ministry. Also, the head of the national security department under the South Korean president, Jong Yi Yong, expressed his protest to the secretary of the Russian Security Council and demanded that the Security Council of the Russian Federation assess the situation and take “appropriate measures”. To Beijing, a similar demand was not made: his planes violated, according to Seoul, only the air defense zone.

Immediately after South Korea, Moscow and Seoul made claims against Tokyo, which also claims to be islands. “The Takeshima Islands are our territory,” said Taro Kono, the head of the country's foreign ministry. “Japan should take measures against the Russian aircraft that intrude into our airspace. This is incompatible with our position that South Korea is taking steps in this direction. ” In Seoul, the claims rejected. “According to international law, Dokdo is historically and geographically our native territory, so we cannot accept the statements of the Japanese side,” the South Korean Foreign Ministry said.