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A Swiss F18 grazes the president of the Duma. Diplomatic misunderstanding

A Swiss F18 taking off during the Tiger Meet 2009 exercise (credit: DICOD/EMA - B2 archives)
A Swiss F18 taking off during the Tiger Meet 2009 exercise (credit: DICOD/EMA – archives B2)

(B2) The Russians first blamed a French plane which had made the mistake of “grazing” a little too closely with the official plane transporting the President of the Duma, Sergei Naryshkin, to Geneva. The French ambassador in Moscow, Jean-Maurice Ripert, was immediately summoned for an explanation. Does Moscow see this as a unique opportunity to play the victim?

Alas… A scathing denial quickly arrives from the Quai d’Orsay “ No French Air Force aircraft were involved in the incident involving an official Russian aircraft reported by the Russian Foreign Ministry. We therefore deplore the fact that the French ambassador in Moscow was summoned for all business. » In fact, it was not a Mirage 2000 or a tricolor Rafale but a Swiss F/18, which intervened in contact with the Russian plane.

The explanation came from Bern. The Russians probably did not see the white cross, which is characteristic of Swiss aviation and the double tail, recognizable from the F/A-18, or pretended not to see it in this area where the border is held. . Swiss planes have the possibility of flying over French areas. The Swiss defense believes that there is nothing abnormal. “ It was a close check, we made visual contact with the driver, we noted the registration. We noted, everything was in order. It's a check, a routine check » Swiss Defense Ministry spokesperson Peter Minder told AFP.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).