Sunday, 9 July 2017

Putin takes a detour returning home

Did Putin fear NATO would SHOOT HIS JET as he flew to G20? Records show his plane took 300 mile detour to avoid flying in NATO air space

  • Data from FlightRadar24 reveals plane carrying Putin avoided Poland and the Baltic States
  • It has raised questions about whether the president feared being shot down
  • The Kremlin has declined to comment on the reasons for the lengthy detour
  • Poland and the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have been particularly vocal in their criticism of Moscow
Putin's plane took a 300 mile diversion to prevent flying over Poland and the Baltic States on his way to the G20 summit
Putin's plane took a 300 mile diversion to prevent flying over Poland and the Baltic States on his way to the G20 summit

9 July, 2017

A plane carrying Russian President Vladimir Putin made a 300 mile detour to avoid flying over Poland and the Baltic States on his way to the G20 summit, it has emerged.


It has raised questions about whether Putin feared being shot down amid heightened tensions with NATO.


According to the FlightRadar24 website, the Russian government jet flying from Moscow to Hamburg on Thursday deviated from the direct route over Belarus and Poland.


Poland and the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have been particularly vocal in their criticism of Moscow since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.


The Ilyushin with the registration number RA-96022 flew over the Baltic Sea, crossing on its way territory of neutral Finland and Sweden before entering the airspace of Denmark and Germany, both NATO members.


Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the reasons for the detour, saying only that the president's security during trips was paramount.


'The (safety) measures which are taken are expedient measures,' he told a conference call with reporters.


Russian television later showed Putin emerging from a plane with same registration in Hamburg as he arrived for the summit, where he had his first meeting with US President Donald Trump on Friday.


Putin has flown over eastern NATO states on a number of recent occasions. It was not clear why this time his jet took a longer route, which also avoided crossing the Baltic states - former Soviet republics which, like Poland, are members of NATO and the European Union.


The region is a flashpoint for tensions between Russia and the Western allies, hosting U.S. and NATO troops, to Moscow's displeasure.


US-led war games were held there this year, rehearsing a scenario in which Russia might try to sever the states from the rest of the Western alliance.


In a speech in Warsaw on Thursday, Trump committed to NATO's guarantee that alliance members will defend each other.


Planes carrying Putin over the past 12 months always took direct routes when flying over EU countries, according to data on FlightRadar24. They did not fly over Ukraine, which has closed off its airspace to flights by Russian airlines.


Putin repeatedly flew over Poland during the period, including for his previous European visit in May, and passed over the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius last October.


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