Ukraine’s An-26 plane makes dangerously close passes near Russian oil rigs in Black Sea

“All the statements by the Ukrainian side that the An-26 plane was allegedly fired at are an absolute lie,” a spokesman for the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters said.

SEVASTOPOL, February 1. /TASS/. A Ukrainian Antonov An-26 plane has made two provocative passes at an extremely low altitude near Russian drilling towers in the Black Sea, a spokesman for the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters told journalists on Wednesday.

The oil rigs’ security guards did not open fire at the plane but gave it flash signals to prevent its collision with a drilling tower, the spokesman said.

“This morning, between 11:30 and 12:00 a.m. Moscow time, an An-26 plane of the Ukrainian armed forces with board No. 53 made two clearly provocative passes at an extremely low altitude near Russian oil rigs Tavrida and Crimea-1 in the Black Sea,” the headquarters spokesman said.

“All the statements by the Ukrainian side that the An-26 plane was allegedly fired at are an absolute lie. During the Ukrainian An-26’s second pass, an employee of the drilling platform’s security guard gave four flash signals from a signal pistol to prevent a possible air crash from collision with the drilling tower,” he added.

As the spokesman said, “it is clearly understandable for anyone who at least once held a signal pistol or New Year fireworks that there was no and could be no threat to the plane.”

Spokesman for the Ukrainian president Svyatoslav Tsegolko said earlier on Wednesday that a Ukrainian transport plane had allegedly been fired at in the Ukrainian maritime economic zone near Odessa. The spokesman claimed that the incident occurred at the time when the An-26 was performing a training flight and the plane “sustained considerable damage.”

The spokesman did not specify, however, the circumstances of the incident, saying only that the plane had been fired at from some drilling towers.

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