23 Aug 2018 20:11

Air safety over Baltic Sea needs to be considered in Russia-NATO format - Russian Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW. Aug 23 (Interfax) - The safety of flights over the Baltic Sea should be discussed in the Russia-NATO format, but the alliance is avoiding talks on the matter, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"The situation dictates the need to consider a set of measures to prevent unintended incidents over the Baltic Sea in the Russia-NATO format. Nevertheless, the partners in the North Atlantic alliance are in fact avoiding this in any possible way," the ministry said in a commentary posted on its website on Thursday.

"We were surprised to hear remarks by NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu on the alliance's supposed willingness to discuss aviation safety during flights over the Baltic Sea," the ministry said, pointing out that Russia has twice initiated discussions on this matter within the NATO-Russia Council format involving military experts.

"In the absence of due interest on the part of our NATO partners, the discussion of the matter has been put under the aegis of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), in the format of a special task force of experts on military-civilian cooperation. A number of measures have been agreed upon within its framework, which have significantly improved the safety of civilian air services over the Baltic Sea," it said.

"At the same time, all these measures are just a recommendation for military aircraft," it said.