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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Putin plane makes detour avoiding Poland and Baltics on way to G20: flight tracker

According to the FlightRadar24 website, a Russian government jet flying from Moscow to Hamburg on Thursday deviated from the direct route over Belarus and Poland, which was once a Soviet bloc state but joined the western military alliance after the fall of communism.

Russian president Vladimir Putin steps off a plane upon arrival for the G20 summit in Hamburg on July 7, 2017. Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP
Russian president Vladimir Putin steps off a plane upon arrival for the G20 summit in Hamburg on July 7, 2017. Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP

VILNIUS // A plane carrying Russian president Vladimir Putin to the G20 summit in Germany made a detour of about 500 kilometres to avoid flying over Nato members Poland or the Baltic states, data from a flight tracker showed.

According to the FlightRadar24 website, a Russian government jet flying from Moscow to Hamburg on Thursday deviated from the direct route over Belarus and Poland, which was once a Soviet bloc state but joined the western military alliance after the fall of communism.

Instead, the Ilyushin with the registration number RA-96022 flew over the Baltic Sea, crossing on its way territory of neutral Finland and Sweden before entering the airspace of Denmark and Germany, both Nato members.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment, saying only that the president's security during trips was paramount.

"The [safety] measures which are taken are expedient measures," he said.

Russian television later showed Mr Putin emerging from a plane with the same registration in Hamburg as he arrived for the summit, where he had his first meeting with US president Donald Trump on Friday.

Mr Putin has flown over eastern Nato states on a number of recent occasions. It was not clear why this time his jet took a longer route, which also avoided crossing the Baltic states — former Soviet republics which, like Poland, are members of Nato and the European Union.