Plane incident: Sweden, Denmark summon Russian envoys

BRUSSELS - Sweden and Denmark have summoned their respective Russian ambassadors in response to a Russian military plane reportedly turning off its location device and nearly colliding with a Swedish civilian airliner Friday.

''We have contacted the Russian Embassy and the meeting will take place today,'' Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom told reporters in Brussels on Monday. The Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard also announced in Brussels that Copenhagen had made a similar decision. 

The Russian Defense Ministry denied Sunday that one of its jets had nearly collided with the Swedish SAS civilian airliner, which was flying from the Danish capital Copenhagen to Poznan in Poland on Friday.

''We think it is dangerous and absolutely unsuitable,'' Wallstrom said Monday. "This is something that we protest against."

While civilian airliners are required to have their location devices -- transponders -- on at all times, military planes can turn them off. Wallstrom said both Swedish and NATO military flights have turned off their transponders before.

''This is a larger problem that needs to be sorted out,'' Wallstrom said.

Tensions escalated between Stockholm and Moscow in November when Swedish military officials confirmed that a foreign submarine had been seen illegally operating in Swedish territorial waters.

There had been indeed speculation in Sweden in October that a Russian submarine was in the Stockholm archipelago.

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