SOUTH Korean fighter jets fired warning shots after Russian warplanes violated the country’s airspace for the first time ever today.
Three Russian planes entered South Korea’s air defence zone off its east coast before one crossed into the country’s territorial sky, officials said.
F-15K fighter jets from South Korea’s air force perform an exercise in 2016 (file photo)[/caption]
South Korean fighter jets then scrambled to the area to fire warning shots, a defence official said.
The Russian plane left the area but it returned and violated the South Korean airspace again later on Tuesday, the ministry official said.
He said the South Korean fighter jets fired warning shots again.
Each time, the Russian plane didn’t return fire, the official said.
It was the first time a Russian military plane has violated South Korean airspace, according to South Korean officials.
The airspace the Russian plane violated was above a group of South Korean-held islets roughly halfway between South Korea and Japan that has been a source of territorial disputes between them.
Russia isn’t a party in those disputes.
The three Russian planes had entered the South Korean air defense identification zone with two Chinese military planes.
But it wasn’t immediately known whether the two countries deliberately did so, according to the South Korean official.
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Before their joint flights with the Russian planes, the Chinese planes entered South Korea’s air defense identification zone off its southwest coast earlier Tuesday, according to the South Korean official.
Chinese planes have occasionally entered South Korea’s air defense identification zone in recent years.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry said it plans to summon Russian and Chinese Embassy officials later Tuesday to register formal protests.