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South Korea says fired warning shots at Russian military aircraft for airspace violation

SEOUL (South Korea) South Korean fighter jets fired warning shots at a Russian military aircraft Tuesday for violation of country’s airspace.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff in a statement said that the Russian military aircraft violated South Korean airspace twice on Tuesday morning.

The South Korean military said they flew above islands claimed by both South Korea and Japan, first at 9.09 a.m. local time and then again at 9.33 a.m., each time for just a matter of minutes.

The two disputed islands are known to the Koreans as Dokdo and to the Japanese as Takeshima. They’re situated about halfway between both countries.

In response, South Korea deployed F-15F and KF-16 fighter jets, the statement said, and fired warning shots both times the Russian aircraft entered their airspace.

Ministry of Defense said that the shots were fired using 20mm weapon. It said that it was for the first time a foreign country has violated South Korean airspace.

Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at the United States’ Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center, said that shooting a warning shot in the air was “very very serious” and “very, very rare.”

Schuster said that the fact shots were fired meant Seoul had viewed the violation as a serious and deliberate act, adding he couldn’t explain why the Russian plane would come back again after the first warning.

“Penetrating to a point of requiring warning shots to turn away is normally the result of a deliberate decision to penetrate that airspace,” he said.