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.
has raised questions about whether Putin feared being shot down amid
heightened tensions with NATO.
to the FlightRadar24 website, the Russian government jet flying from
Moscow to Hamburg on Thursday deviated from the direct route over
Belarus and 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.
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
spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the reasons for the
detour, saying only that the president's security during trips was
(safety) measures which are taken are expedient measures,' he told a
conference call with reporters.
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.
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.
region is a flashpoint for tensions between Russia and the Western
allies, hosting U.S. and NATO troops, to Moscow's displeasure.
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
a speech in Warsaw on Thursday, Trump committed to NATO's guarantee
that alliance members will defend each other.
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.
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.