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A Russian official has said a military jet’s intrusion into South Korean territorial airspace was not intentional, according to Seoul’s presidential office.
The official expressed “deep regret” to the defence ministry and blamed a technical glitch, South Korea said.
However Russia has not officially commented. Earlier it furiously denied entering South Korean airspace.
Tuesday’s incident caused alarm across the region.
Russia’s defence ministry had earlier said its plane was taking part in a joint air patrol by Russian and Chinese warplanes over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea – the first ever air patrol between the two countries.
China’s defence ministry has also denied any of the planes had entered the territorial air space of any country
But South Korea’s Blue House said in a briefing on Wednesday that Russia had now said the violation was unintended and that it would immediately launch an investigation into the case.
“Moscow said if the aircraft flew according to an initially planned route, this incident would not have occurred,” spokesman Yoon Do-han told reporters
The alleged incursion happened over the disputed Dokdo/Takeshima islands, which are occupied by South Korea but also claimed by Japan.
South Korea’s military said that in total three Russian and two Chinese military aircraft entered the Korea Air Defence Identification Zone (KADIZ) on Tuesday morning.
A separate A-50 Russian warplane also violated its territorial airspace twice, it said, before leaving.
South Korea says its jets fired flares and machine-gun warning shots when the Russian plane intruded. It also deployed F-15 and F-16 planes to intercept it.
Japan has protested both to Russia and South Korea over the incident.
Russian and Chinese bombers and reconnaissance planes have occasionally entered the zone in recent years, but this is the first incident of its kind between Russia and South Korea.
Russia’s defence ministry initially denied any airspace violation, and said it did not recognise South Korea’s Air Defence Identification Zone (KADIZ).
Russia also accused the South Korean pilots of “hooliganism in the air”, saying that the patrol had been more than 25km from the Dokdo/Takeshima islands.
Lt Gen Kobylash said Russia had complained to South Korea about its crews’ “illegal and dangerous actions.