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(LEAD) Two Russian aircraft entered S. Korea's air defense zone last week

All Headlines 17:37 May 08, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS more info in 2nd para)

SEOUL, May 8 (Yonhap) -- Two Russian military aircraft violated South Korea's air defense identification zone (KADIZ) last week, prompting the Air Force to scramble fighter jets in response, a military source here said Wednesday.

The Tupolev Tu-142s, Russia's maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, entered the KADIZ without prior notice from the south of South Korea's southern island of Jeju on Friday, according to the source. They entered the KADIZ four times and remained in the airspace a total of 1 hour and 39 minutes.

The Air Force, in response, deployed multiple jets, including F-15Ks, to track them and send warning messages in accordance with the military's operation manuals, he added.

"In communication with our side, they clearly defined their purpose of flight," the source said, adding no additional measures were taken over the matter.

Observers said they were presumed to have taken part in the Sino-Russian naval drills, or Maritime Cooperation 2019, which were held near China's port city of Qingdao from April 29-May 1.

The latest such case by Russian planes took place in July last year when two Russian warplanes violated the KADIZ four times in a single day. Seoul's defense ministry called in a Russian military envoy and lodged a strong protest.

An air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, is an area of the skies declared by a state for the early identification and location of foreign planes approaching its territorial airspace to prevent infiltration by foreign planes and accidental clashes. It is not defined in any international law or treaty.

A F-15K combat jet (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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