South Korea fired hundreds of warning shots at Russian aircraft on Tuesday after it violated South Korean airspace, according to the South Korean government.
South Korea said three Russian military planes — two Tu-95 bombers and one A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft — entered the South’s air defense identification zone off its east coast before the A-50 intruded in South Korean airspace. Russia said later that two of its Tu-95MS bombers were on a routine flight over neutral waters and didn’t enter South Korean territory.
The Russian government has vehemently denied South Korean assertions, saying their planes had not only not violated South Korean airspace, but that there were also no shots fired by South Korean forces. In a statement, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that South Korean fighters were flying in “unprofessional maneuvers” around Russian aircraft.
The operation demonstrated Russia’s “first long-range joint air patrol in the Asia-Pacific region with China,” according to Reuters.
With these details in mind, one must wonder if the alleged airspace violations by Russian forces were merely innocent mistakes or an attempted show of strength.