An unidentified helicopter coming from the Russian border violated Finland’s airspace, Finnish officials said Friday. The chopper flew inside Finland for six minutes and about 6 miles from the border before finally turning back after two warnings from the air force, reported Finnish broadcaster YLE News.
The national affiliation of the helicopter was not immediately known. But the unidentified chopper entered Finnish skies over territorial waters near the island of Haapasaari in eastern Finland on the border with Russia, said Pravda.Ru, a privately owned Russian news site.
Last year, Finland accused Russia of violating its airspace five times. Three of those incidents happened within one week, Reuters reported. The latest reported incident comes one day after a Russian military helicopter allegedly breached Georgian skies, and just weeks after a Russian warplane was shot down by the Turks.
The incidents have strained relations between Russia and several of its neighbors. The tensions came to a head last month when Turkish warplanes shot down a Russian Su-25 fighter jet for violating Turkish airspace, the Turks said, near the Syrian border and ignoring repeated warnings. Georgian Defense Minister Tinatin Khidasheli told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency that a country has every right to respond to the breaches, asserting that Russia had deliberately violated NATO and EU airspace in recent months despite numerous warnings.
Russian President Vladimir Putin denied any violation and warned that the Nov. 24 incident will have “significant consequences” for Moscow-Ankara relations. The Russian military has been conducting airstrikes in Syria apart from the U.S.-led coalition targeting the Islamic State group.
"This event is beyond the normal framework of fighting against terrorism. Of course our military is doing heroic work against terrorism. ... But the loss today is a stab in the back, carried out by the accomplices of terrorists. I can’t describe it in any other way,” Putin said, according to the Guardian. "Neither our pilots nor our jet threatened the territory of Turkey. This is obvious.”