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Latino Daily News

Thursday November 7, 2013

Colombian President to Send Protest Note to Russia for Airspace Violation

Colombian President to Send Protest Note to Russia for Airspace Violation

Photo: Juan Manuel Santos

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The Colombian government will send a note of protest to Russia after two Russian military aircraft entered the airspace above the Andean nation’s San Andres archipelago in the Caribbean on two occasions last week, President Juan Manuel Santos said.

The president said that after the first incident, a complaint was made to Russia and then, after the second unauthorized overflight, Colombian authorities decided to send a formal note of protest.

“That (the second incident) ... deserves a diplomatic note to the Russian government and that is what the foreign ministry is doing,” said Santos from Pasto, the capital of the southern border province of Nariño.

The first incident occurred at 11 a.m. last Friday, when two Tupolev 160 supersonic strategic bombers entered Colombian airspace while flying from Venezuela to Nicaragua, according to a Defense Ministry report made public Tuesday by Caracol Radio.

Because of that incident “a request was made of the foreign ministry to (send) the ... note to the Russian government,” Santos said.

He added that “Then, those same bombers returned to Venezuela. Once again, they entered Colombian airspace, were detected by our intelligence aircraft and, since they were in Colombian airspace, were intercepted by two Kfir airplanes.”

The Russian warplanes were detected by the radars on San Andres island - near the coast of Nicaragua - and intercepted by two fighter jets with the Colombian air force some 80 miles north of the mainland coastal city of Barranquilla, Caracol Radio said.

Moscow said the Tupolevs operated within international airspace regulations.

The Tupolev 160’s arrived in Venezuela on Wednesday of last week to participate in an exhibition as part of the official visit to Caracas and Managua of Russian Federation Security Council Secretary Nicolai Patrushev.

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