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Moscow Denies Russian Planes Violated Bulgarian Airspace

Russia’s Defense Ministry has denied allegations by Bulgaria’s defense minister that Russian aircraft have been crossing into Bulgaria’s responsibility zone of NATO airspace.

General Igor Konashenkov, the spokesman for the Russian ministry, made the remarks on July 25 -- one day after Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev said Russian military and commercial aircraft are increasingly violating Bulgarian airspace.

Nenchev told Bulgaria’s Nova TV on July 24 that the breaches were “provocations toward Bulgaria and its air forces.”

He said Russian military planes had flown four times during the past month into what he called “Bulgaria's area of responsibility" in NATO airspace.

Nenchev said the planes turned off their transponders, making it more difficult for an airplane to be located in congested air space.

Nenchev said six Russian commercial planes violated Bulgarian airspace in the past month.

Based on reporting by Reuters, Nova TV, and Interfax