Russian helicopter violates Japanese airspace, Tokyo raises fighter jets


A suspected Russian helicopter entered Japanese airspace on Tuesday. It happened off the northernmost island of Hokkaido, the defense ministry said, adding that Tokyo had lodged a strong protest with Moscow over the incident through diplomatic channels.

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The helicopter was seen entering airspace over the waters off the Nemuro Peninsula in eastern Hokkaido at around 12:44 p.m., and Japan’s air force scrambled fighter jets in response to the breach, the statement said.

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There was a similar breach of a Russian helicopter in March 2022, after Japan, along with many Western countries, began imposing economic sanctions on Russia following the start of its aggression against Ukraine the previous month. Last year’s incursion took place near a group of islands held by Tokyo and claimed by Moscow, called the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia.

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