Russia has said it didn't apologize for an alleged intrusion into South Korean airspace, contradicting earlier statements reported by South Korean media. The incident has triggered a diplomatic dispute in the region.
The Russian embassy in Seoul on Wednesday said it did not apologize for an alleged intrusion of a Russian aircraft into South Korean airspace, contradicting earlier reports by South Korean media.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency had reported earlier on Wednesday that the South Korean government said Russia expressed "deep regret" over the incident.
"Russia has conveyed its deep regret over the incident and said its defense ministry would immediately launch an investigation and take all necessary steps," Yoon Do-han, South Korea's presidential press secretary, reportedly said.
The Russian embassy in Seoul responded by saying that many of the statements in media reports attributed to a Russian diplomat "do not correspond with reality" and claimed that there were many inaccuracies in the comments reported by South Korea, according to Russia's Interfax news agency.
"The Russian side has not made any official apologies," Russian embassy spokesman Dmitry Bannikov reportedly said.
Russia also denied reports that they had admitted a technical problem had caused the incident.
On Tuesday, Russian and Chinese military aircraft allegedly twice entered South Korean airspace during joint maneuvers, causing South Korea to scramble fighter jets and fire "hundreds" of warning shots in response.
Russia claims that South Korea threatened its planes with "unprofessional maneuvers."
A regional diplomatic spat
Responding to the incident on Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said its aircraft were flying as part of a joint patrol with China and denied that they illegally entered South Korean airspace.
The Chinese Defense Ministry said that the joint air patrols with Russia did "not target any third party" and denied entering another country's territorial airspace.
The incident took place over the Sea of Japan near the Dokdo islets, which are occupied by South Korea but also claimed by Japan. The region is a geopolitical hot spot, with China, Russia, Japan and South Korea all vying for influence.
The South Korean Defense Ministry said it will hold talks with officials from the Russian embassy on Thursday and said it has evidence to prove Russian aircraft entered its airspace.
wmr/amp (AP, dpa, Reuters)