South Korea: We fired warning shot at Russian aircraft in our airspace

Russian Air Force Ilyushin Il-20M  (photo credit: KIRILL NAUMENKO/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Russian Air Force Ilyushin Il-20M
The South Korean military fired two warning shots at a Russian military aircraft that entered South Korean airspace on Tuesday, the Ministry of National Defense in Seoul said, and Chinese military aircraft had also entered South Korean airspace.
It was the first time a Russian military aircraft had violated South Korean airspace, a ministry official said.
The warplane was one of three Russian aircraft to enter the Korea Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) early on Tuesday. Two Chinese military aircraft also entered the KADIZ, the defence ministry said in a statement.
There was no immediate public comment from Russian or Chinese officials.
The South Korean government would lodge official complaints about the violations with China and Russia, the defence ministry in Seoul said.
According to the South Korean military, the Russian aircraft then violated South Korean airspace over Dokdo - an island that is occupied by South Korea and also claimed by Japan, which calls it Takeshima - just after 9 a.m. (midnight GMT Monday).
"The South Korean military took tactical action including dropping flares and firing a warning shot," the defence ministry statement said.
The Russian aircraft left South Korean airspace but then entered it again about 20 minutes later, prompting the South Koreans to fire another warning shot.
The ministry said South Korean warplanes "conducted a normal response" to the incursion, without giving further details.
Russia's Ministry of Defence on Tuesday denied that its strategic bombers had violated South Korean air space and accused South Korean jets of carrying out dangerous maneuvers that threatened its aircraft, the RIA news agency reported.
Defense officials in Seoul said earlier that the South Korean air force had fired hundreds of warning shots at a Russian military aircraft that illegally entered South Korean airspace on Tuesday.
But Russia's defense ministry denied that and said South Korean pilots had not communicated with the Russian bombers.
This was not the first time that South Korean pilots had interfered with a Russian military flight over neutral waters, the ministry said.