Reuters: Russia offers to fly warplanes more safely over Baltics
Russian ambassador to NATO Alexander Grushko addresses a news conference after the NATO-Russia Council
Moscow offered to fly its jets over the Baltic region with their transponders engaged, an apparent concession to NATO powers who accuse Russia's air force of endangering aviation by turning off the devices that allow them to be detected by ground radar.
Moscow's envoy to NATO told alliance ambassadors that Russian pilots could turn on the cockpit transmitters, known as transponders, if alliance planes did the same.
"We are ready to fly with transponders...along certain flight trajectories," Russia's ambassador Alexander Grushko said after the NATO-Russia Council, a forum bringing together Russia and the 28 NATO ambassadors.
"The aircraft of many countries do fly in the region with their transponders off," Grushko said.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the proposal but said that all jets under NATO command already flew with their transponders on. "Transponders are important, but they are only one element of a broader picture related to air safety. The basic thing is safe behavior, to fly in a safe and professional way," Stoltenberg said.
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