On March 12, a Russian Il-76 entered Estonian airspace without authorization in the region of the Vaindloo island, Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR) reported, citing the Estonian Defense Forces press service.
According to the Estonian military, the Russian plane spent almost a minute in Estonian airspace. The Il-76 did not have radio contact with the Estonian Air Traffic Center. However, the plane’s transponder was active.
As the ERR observes, this is not the first violation of Estonia’s air borders by a Russian plane. The Russian ambassador was summoned to the Estonian Foreign Ministry and given a memorandum.
The ERR also cites a post from the Baltic Watch Twitter account, which states that the plane had a registration number of RA78850. The website Flightradar24 indicates that the aircraft took off from an unknown location in the Caucasus and was flying to the Kaliningrad region.
According to Google’s cached version of the now closed website russianplanes.net, the registration number belongs to an Il-76 MD of Russia’s 223rd Flight Unit.
The Russian Defense Ministry later confirmed that the plane was an Il-76 belonging to its Aerospace Forces. Citing objective control information, the Russian defense department claimed that the plane’s flight was “in strict accordance with the international airspace usage rules”, and that it did not violate another country’s borders.