A French air force presence located at Keflavík airport is keeping an eye on two Russian bombers that have flown into Icelandic airspace. “This reminds me of old times” said Geir H. Haarde, Prime minister after paying a visit to the French air force at Keflavík.
The Russian planes are so-called “Bears” and are long-range bombers. Russian authorities informed Norwegian authorities about their whereabouts, explaining their presence was an exercise. Norwegian authorities passed the information on to the Icelandic government. Mbl.is reports.
The Russian planes entered Icelandic airspace around 10 am from north of Norway, then flew west and then south of the island, disappearing around 12 am. Two of the four French jets escorted the Russian planes as they flew west of Iceland to ensure the safety of commercial flights in the area, since the Russian planes do not broadcast any signals picked up by civilian air traffic control.
Urdur Gunnarsdóttir, a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, confirmed that the Russian authorities released information about the jets’ flights, but Icelandic authorities have expressed their upset over bombers that enter Icelandic airspace without prior notice.
The French air force was in Keflavik as a part of NATO´s regular air patrol program. Since Iceland has no air force, other NATO countries which have air forces are obligated to patrol around the Icelandic airspace as well as Icelandic air control area regularly.