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Swiss jet, not French, flew close to Russian airliner

A Swiss fighter jet, not a French warplane, approached a Russian airliner carrying a parliamentary delegation to Geneva. Russia earlier blamed France for the incident and summoned the country's ambassador in Moscow.

A Swiss military spokesman has said one of the country's F/A-18 fighter jets flew close to a Russian plane carrying a parliamentary delegation on Monday.

The Swiss military spokesperson, Peter Minder, told Russia's TASS news agency that the incident was "standard procedure of police control in the air" and there was "nothing unusual."

Earlier in the day, Russia's foreign ministry accused France of flying a warplane in "dangerous proximity" to an airliner in Swiss airspace carrying a Russian parliamentary delegation, including the speaker of the lower house of parliament, Sergei Naryshkin.

A spokesperson for Naryshkin told AFP news agency the warplane came close enough to the airliner that they could take a picture of it. A member of the delegation, Sergei Gavrilov, told TASS news agency the incident was an "unfriendly act by NATO."

Switzerland is a neutral country and not a member of NATO.

After blaming France for the incident, Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement that "actions like these by Paris undermine the possibility of using France as a place for multilateral meetings and talks."

Moscow summoned the French ambassador to give an explanation. The French denied one of its warplanes was involved and said the fighter jet was Swiss.

The French foreign and defense ministries issued a statement expressing "regret" the French ambassador was summoned over the incident.

The incident is the latest airspace issue between Russia and European states. Earlier this month, Turkey summoned Russia's ambassador after saying that a

Russian jet operating over Syria strayed into its airspace.

cw/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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