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A Russian Sukhoi Su-24 fighter jet was pictured making a low-altitude pass by the USS Donald Cook, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, in the Baltic Sea on 12 April, 2016.
A Russian Sukhoi Su-24 fighter jet was pictured making a low-altitude pass by the USS Donald Cook, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, in the Baltic Sea on 12 April, 2016.

Russia's plans to invite military experts from the member states of Nato and non-member states from the Baltic Sea Region to negotiations in Moscow are interesting, according to the Finnish Minister of Defence.

“The initiative is interesting. Without more information about Russia's plans to invite countries to talks, it is impossible to comment [on] the issue more closely. On a general level, it can be concluded that the issue of flight safety in the Baltic Sea Region is both topical and important,” a ministry spokesperson says in a press release.

Russia, meanwhile, has revealed that aviation and maritime safety, as well as issues related to monitoring military exercises, will be on the agenda of the talks, according to TASS. Anatoly Antonov, a deputy Defence Minister of Russia, states in an interview with the news agency that ensuring that all military aircraft use their transponders while flying over the region is a priority for the Russian Ministry of Defence.

The proposal to oblige all aircraft to use transponders while flying over the region was originally made by President Sauli Niinistö while he met with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Finland in July.

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Reports about the invitation have stirred up some confusion in Sweden primarily because neither Sweden nor Finland have yet been formally invited to the negotiations.

“We're aware that they're planning to hold such a meeting based on reports in the Russian media,” Johan Murray, a spokesperson for the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, confirmed to Svenska Dagbladet.

The Estonian Ministry of Defence, the newspaper writes, has already received a formal invitation and is currently considering whether or not to participate in the negotiations. Murray estimates, however, that the fact that an invitation has been sent to Estonia but not yet to Finland or Sweden may not necessarily be of any significance.

“We currently can't comment on the matter in more detail. We'll comment on the invitation if and when one is sent to us,” he said.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Handout – AFP / US Navy 6th Fleet
Source: Uusi Suomi

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