Seoul says its fighter jets have fired warning shots at a Russian military aircraft after it entered South Korean airspace, in the first such incident between the countries.
South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense said in a statement on Tuesday that three Russian aircraft entered the Korea Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) earlier in the day with two Chinese military aircraft.
One of the Russian aircraft reportedly violated South Korean airspace over Dokdo — an island known as Takeshima in Japan, which also lays claim to the territory —just after 9 a.m. (midnight GMT Monday).
“The South Korean military took tactical action including dropping flares and firing a warning shot,” prompting the plane to leave the country’s territorial sky, the Defense Ministry said.
The South Korean jets fired another warning shot after the Russian warplane returned and entered the country’s airspace again about 20 minutes later.
Military officials described the violation as “unprecedented.”
According to the defense ministry, the South Korean government would lodge official complaints about the violations with China and Russia.
Russian and Chinese officials have yet to comment on the incident.