The Finnish Air Force said on Tuesday it was aware of a civilian flight and that it had been approved. “The armed forces do not speculate about the routes or destinations of civilian carriers,” the statement said, stressing that Finnish airspace is guarded and secured 24/7, all year round.
But the head of the parliament’s defense committee, Ilka Kanerva, expects explanations from the Russian side. “It was no coincidence,” a seasoned politician said Tuesday, noting that the flight path passes exactly over strategic targets essential to the country’s security, and information about it remains largely classified.
The Boeing 747 of AirBridgeCargo Airlines, one of Russia’s largest air cargo companies, took off on Saturday.
According to information from Finnish radio Yle, which revealed the event, the flight route was from Moscow to Murmansk. Over the White Sea, the machine turned around and flew over central and southern Finland, laying a path to Leipzig, Germany, where one of the company’s European subsidiaries is located.
According to commentators, the air route to Germany passes over the Baltic states, and not over Finland. According to local security experts, this could be a “espionage operation” or a “Russian provocation” during a tense security situation in Europe.
According to Jukka Savolainen of Helsinki’s Center of Excellence for Hybrid Threats (Hybrid CoE), this could be a “test” of the response in Finland.
Local media also indicated that the event coincided with the ongoing negotiations between NATO and Russia over Ukraine, the presence of the Russian fleet in the Baltic Sea or the observation of drones over power plants in Sweden in recent days.
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