Six Russian warplanes intruded into Seoul’s air defense identification zone on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the South Korean Defense Ministry told TASS on the phone.
According to the spokesperson, six aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Force (a Beriev A-50 plane, three Sukhoi Su-27 fighters and two Tupolev Tu-95 bombers) entered the zone north of Ulleungdo Island in the Sea of Japan at 09:23 local time (00:23 GMT) and left it seven minutes later. However, the aircraft entered the air defense zone several more times in the next six hours, the South Korean Defense Ministry claimed, pointing out that the Russian aircraft had not violated the country’s airspace.
According to the ministry’s spokesperson, Russian aircraft have entered South Korea’s air defense identification zone 20 times in 2019.
Earlier on Tuesday, an officer of the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Yonhap news agency that a Russian warplane had intruded into the air defense zone and F-15K fighters had been scrambled to intercept it.
South Korea’s air defense identification zone includes not only the country’s airspace but also a segment of international airspace. The South Korean military demands that aircraft give early warnings about plans to enter the zone. If an aircraft fails to do so, warplanes are scrambled to intercept it even if the country’s airspace is not violated.
The Russian Defense Ministry repeatedly points out that the Airspace Force conducts flights in accordance with international rules.