• Switzerland's news in English
Swiss fighter jet sparks diplomatic incident
Swiss FA-18 Hornet fighter plane. Photo: Erich Riester

Swiss fighter jet sparks diplomatic incident

AFP/The Local · 19 Oct 2015, 20:55

Published: 19 Oct 2015 20:55 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The Russian foreign affairs department said in a statement that it had summoned France's ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert to "give an explanation" of the incident.

"A plane of the French airforce flew dangerously close to a jet with a Russian parliamentary delegation headed by the Russian State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin," the statement said, adding the officials were travelling to a meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva.

"The ambassador was made aware of Russia's deep concern over what happened," it said, adding that "actions like these by Paris undermine the possibility of using France as a place for multilateral meetings and talks."

France's foreign ministry rebuffed the Russian claim, saying that "it was a Swiss plane, an F18, and no French military plane is involved."

The Swiss defence department confirmed the incident, saying one of its F-18 warplanes had approached the Russian craft for "a routine check".

The department said the incident that occurred was "completely normal", reported the ATS news agency, which said that it occurred over the city of Bienne/Biel in the canton of Bern.

During the evening, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed that Moscow had apologized to Paris through diplomatic channels, but had demanded an explanation from Switzerland.
"We have to work out what happened and why it was done," she said in televised comments.

Naryshkin's spokeswoman Yevgenia Chugunova told AFP that the warplane flew so close that members of the delegation could take a picture.

"I can confirm that this incident involving a French military plane happened this morning," she said.

"We saw it very close."

Naryshkin, who is on both the EU and US blacklists for publicly supporting the deployment of Russian forces to Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea, told Russian agencies he is aware of what happened although he did not see the warplane himself.

Another member of the delegation, Sergei Gavrilov, told TASS news agency that the approach took place "at the altitude of 3,700 metres above the Swiss border" and called it an "unfriendly act by Nato". 

Last Wednesday, a Swiss air force F/A-18 plane crashed southeast of Besançon in the Doubs region of France in a training area used by French and Swiss air forces.

Story continues below…

The 38-year-old pilot, who ejected prior to the crash, was injured and taken to hospital.

Swiss and French authorities have launched an investigation. 

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available