Russian Tu-95 “Bear” bombers accused of violating Japanese airspace twice
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Japan and Russia have not yet signed a peace treaty since the end of the Second World War and continue to oppose the status of the Kuril Islands, annexed by the Soviet Union in 1945. And the settlement of this dispute territorial is not about to succeed.
It remains “a painstaking task to achieve a mutually acceptable solution,” said Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, after a meeting with Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister, in January.
And he replied: “We agreed to work together to raise the level of trust between Russian and Japanese citizens by developing friendly relations and seeking a mutual solution.”
However, this “level of confidence” is unlikely to rise with the regular dispatch of Russian strategic bombers near the airspace of the Japanese archipelago. Flights that resulted in 343 take-offs of fighter jets from Japanese Air Force self-defense between March 2018 and April 2019.
Russian bombers, generally Tu-95 “Bear,” do not enter Japanese airspace – except for the morning of June 20th. According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense, two Tu-95MS violated Japanese airspace twice. The first violation took place at the island of Minami-Daitojima [Okinawa Prefecture] and lasted about 3 minutes, starting at 8:53. The Japanese obviously intervened to order them to turn back.
Then Russian bombers headed north-east. At 10:21, one of them “flew over for about two minutes to the island of Hachijjojima, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Government of Tokyo,” says the daily Asahi Shimbun. Then, the Tu-95MS took the direction of the Kuril Islands to join Sakhalin.
“It is difficult to consider the last incident as a mistake,” said a senior official of the Japanese Ministry of Defense.
During their journey, the Tu-95MS, whose transponder was obviously extinguished, were intercepted by Japanese F-15s and F-2s.
However, in Moscow, it is said that these two bombers have always remained in international airspace.
“Two strategic Russian-Russian Tu-95MS bombers flew a planned flight over the neutral waters of the Sea of Japan, the East China Sea, the South China Sea and the western part of the ocean. Peaceful. During certain stages of this flight, the Russian planes were followed by the Japanese fighters F-2 and F-15,” commented the Russian Ministry of Defense, via a statement. This mission, he said, lasted “more than 14 hours.”
Meanwhile, the Japanese Foreign Ministry has formally issued a protest note to the Russian Embassy in Tokyo for these two alleged violations.
An incident of the same nature occurred in February 2013, when two Russian Sukhoi SU-27 “Flankers” briefly violated Japanese airspace off Hokkaido Island. The Japanese authorities protested to their Russian counterparts, who denied any violation.