The Estonian Armed Forces have accused a Russian An-12 military airplane of violating Estonia's airspace.
The plane, en route to Kaliningrad, briefly entered Estonian airspace without permission near Vaindloo Island, sources in the Armed Forces' staff told Interfax on Wednesday.
The An-12 was spotted by an airspace monitoring center in Amar, outside Tallinn. Its crew contacted Tallinn's air traffic control center.
There is no statement posted at the Estonian Foreign Ministry website, but according to the Baltic Times they plan to protest the violation of their airpsace through diplomatic channels, (NATO).
For those of you who don't know where Vaindloosaar is, as I did not know until 15 minutes ago, it's about 30 km north of Kunda in Lääne-Virumaa. So it's pretty far away from the Estonian mainland, (it may be its second most distant island, after Ruhnu). It is also 200 meters wide by 600 meters long. So, it can be said that it takes talent to find Vaindloosaar in the Gulf of Finland. But the Russian airforce has found it, and they have violated Estonian airspace more than a dozen times since 2003. In particular they have violated airspace near Vaindloosaar in August 2004, twice (in five hours) in November 2004, again in April 2005, and as recently as this October. Russia has denied all intrusion.
The clever Estonians have noticed the trend, and some say that Russia may be doing it on purpose to annoy them. *shock* It is interesting that they have been "testing" NATO territory more deliberately since March 2004 when the Baltics were admitted.
But whatever their little game may be it seems funny that it includes Vaindloosaar. From what I gather it's has only been known until now for bird watching and its 130 year old lighthouse. Now it seems to be the Russian airforce's favorite Estonian Island.