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Russian helicopter violations of Finnish airspace "not serious," says Border Guard

The aircraft briefly entered Finnish airspace on two occasions on the same day last month during a routine border patrol.

Puolustusvoimien NH90 kuljetuskopteri lentää yli.
File photo of a Finnish Defence Forces NH-90 helicopter. The aircraft involved in the airspace violation was a Mi-17. Image: Mika Moksu / Yle
Yle News

A Russian Mi-17 helicopter entered Finnish airspace twice on the same day in early May, according to the results of a preliminary investigation announced by the Finnish Border Guard on Friday. However, it said the incidents are not considered to be serious violations.

The probe found that the helicopter briefly entered Finnish airspace on two occasions by a distance of a few hundred metres both times on the morning of 4 May, while it was conducting a routine patrol near the border.

The first airspace violation occurred near the town of Kitee in North Karelia, and the second near Rautjärvi, in South Karelia, less than 100 kilometres away.

The helicopter flew about 700 metres over the Finnish side of the border near Kitee, and by about 500 metres near Rautjärvi.

"The deviations were of short duration, and the helicopter returned to Russian airspace on its own initiative," the Border Guard said in a press release.

The incident will be discussed between the Finnish and Russian border commissions in accordance with the two countries' border agreement.

Finland's Ministry of Defence had initially said that the aircraft violated Finnish airspace by a distance of up to four kilometres, but the Border Guard's investigation has found the incident to be less serious than previously thought.

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