UPDATE 1-Poland bars overflight by Russian defence minister's plane - Russian agency

Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:37am EDT

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MOSCOW Aug 29 (Reuters) - Poland refused permission for a plane carrying Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to fly through its airspace on Friday while attempting to return from a visit to Slovakia, Russia's RIA news agency said.

RIA said the minister's plane turned around and landed back in the Slovak capital Bratislava.

A spokesman for the Polish state air navigation agency said: "It is too early to comment, we are checking all the circumstances that led to this occurrence."

The reason for the reported incident was unclear. Poland has been one of the countries most critical of Russia's actions in the Ukraine crisis, accusing it of aggression against its neighbour.

A Polish foreign ministry spokesman said he had no knowledge of the incident, and a Russian defence ministry spokesman declined to comment.

RIA said its correspondent aboard the Tu-154 plane had been told by a crew member that the pilots had received a message that Poland was not allowing the flight to use its airspace, after which the plane made a sharp turn and flew back. (Reporting by Mark Trevelyan in Moscow and Marcin Goettig in Warsaw; editing by Ralph Boulton)

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