South Korean fighter jets fire hundreds of warning shots at Russian military aircraft after they violated its airspace alongside Chinese bombers
- Two Russian and two Chinese bombers entered South Korean airspace together
- Their appearance prompted South Korea to scramble fighter jets in response
- The jets fired hundreds of warning shots at the Russian aircraft early on Tuesday
- South Korea’s top security adviser has now lodged a complaint with Russia
South Korean warplanes have fired hundreds of warning shots at Russian military aircraft that entered the country’s airspace.
Officials said that Chinese bombers also entered South Korea’s Air Defence Identification Zone (KADIZ).
Two Russian bombers and two Chinese bombers were spotted entering the zone together early on Tuesday.
It was the first time a Russian military aircraft had violated South Korean airspace.
However, Moscow has denied the claims, saying its jets had only carried out planned drills over international waters.
South Korea scrambled F-15 and F-16 fighter jets in response to the intrusions from Russia and China (stock photo)
A Russian early warning and control aircraft twice violated South Korean airspace over Dokdo – an island that is occupied by South Korea and also claimed by Japan, which calls it Takeshima – just after 9am, according to the South Korean military.
Russia’s foreign ministry denied the claims and said in a statement: ‘Two Tu-95 strategic bombers of Russia’s aerospace forces carried out a planned flight in the airspace above the neutral waters of the Sea of Japan.’
China’s foreign ministry said that South Korea’s air space identification zone is not a territorial airspace and all countries enjoy freedom of movement there.
South Korea’s top security adviser Chung Eui-yong lodged a strong objection with Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council of Russia on Tuesday, asking the council to assess the incident and take appropriate action, South Korea’s presidential office said.
‘We take a very grave view of this situation and, if it is repeated, we will take even stronger action,’ Chung said.
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry plans to summon acting Russian Deputy Chief of Mission Maxim Volkov and Chinese Ambassador Qiu Guohong on Tuesday to lodge a stern protest and strongly urge them to prevent a recurrence, ministry spokesman Kim In-chul said.
South Korea’s top security adviser Chung Eui-yong (left with Kim Jong-Un) lodged a strong objection with Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council of Russia on Tuesday
The Russian aircraft was an A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft, an official at South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, and South Korea scrambled F-15 and F-16 fighter jets in response to the intrusions.
The South Korean jets fired around 360 rounds of ammunition during the incident.
‘The South Korean military took tactical action including dropping flares and firing warning shots,’ the defence ministry said.
A South Korean defence official added that the Russian aircraft did not respond in any threatening way.
The Russian aircraft left South Korean airspace but then entered it again about 20 minutes later, prompting the South Koreans to fire more warning shots.
The ministry said South Korean warplanes ‘conducted a normal response’ to the incursion, without giving further details.