Russia denies its aircraft violated Finland's airspace

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.

MOSCOW - Russia's defence ministry has denied that a Russian aircraft entered Finnish airspace, local media quoted the ministry as saying on Sunday.

Finland's defence ministry said a day ago it suspected a Russian state aircraft briefly entered its airspace over the Gulf of Finland without permission on Saturday afternoon.

According to Russia's ministry, a military transport plane of its Baltic fleet made a planned flight on Aug. 23 from its St Petersburg region to Kaliningrad, a western exclave of Russia bordering Poland and Lithuania.

"The flight was going on a strictly fixed route," Interfax news agency quoted an unnamed representative of Russia's defence ministry as saying. "The plane did not deviate from its air route during the flight..." Finland shares a 1,300-km (800-mile) border with Russia and generally maintains cordial relations with Moscow.