posted on Sep, 27 2005 @ 10:30 PM
This in a very interesting incident. Although Russian is a member of a NATO-Russian Council involved with open dialogue on maintaining a cordial
relationship, the Russians have been very beligerent and uncooperative on the matter. The Russians are demanding the immediate return of the pilot,
Maj. Valery Trofimov and the wreckage of the Su-27.
In spite of this "beligerance", Lithuania has shown a willingness to cooperate with Russia. They have allowed a Russian team to act as
"observers" in the investigation of the crash. And the Russians are allowed to be present during the questioning of the pilot. Still questions
remained unanswered, the foremost being "why was a fully armed Russian plane over Lithuanian Air Space"? Of course, it was allowed to ferry to
Kalingrad with permission from Lithuania per prior treaty and agreement but, nevertheless, questions surround the fact that the plane was fully
Another aspect that makes this incident interesting is that four Phantom F-4 fighter planes from Germany based in Lithuania's Zukniai air base on a
rotation basis, were slow to react to the radar alert of the planes presence in Lithuania's air space and that they failed to intercept the plane.
This would show a serious flaw in the Baltic region's air defences. A telling statement comes from Russia's Air Force Commander-in-Chief, "General
Vladimir Mikhailov, reacted with glee: "Air defense forces and assets in Lithuania simply turned out to be good for nothing. The vaunted NATO German
pilots were on duty that day. Were they drinking beer, I wonder? For more than 20 minutes this big aircraft was flying over the territory of
Lithuania, but it was spotted only when it crashed," Mikhailov told a news conference at air force headquarters in Torzhok "(RIA-Novosti, Interfax,
Another troubling factor is that Lithuania, unable to decode the Su-27's "black box" immediately requested assistance from NATO. Seven days later,
it took a four man team from the Ukrainian Air Force to provide the necessary technological expertise to access the flight recorders data.
Nato's first public announcement about the Russian Crash came seven days later! And that announcement was a simple statement expressing satisfaction
that Lithuania was handling the investigation in a capable fashion. Though there was also a statement from the Nato spokesman, James Appathurai who
"added a reminder that NATO and Russia are strategic partners and conducting a political dialogue in the NATO-Russia Council " (BNS) September
Lithuanian President, President Valdas Adamkus , publicly adviced the Lithuanian investigators "not to hurry with conclusions before assembling the
facts, and only then consider how the facts might reflect on international relations".
Meanwhile, outside of Russian embassy in Moscow, pickets were seen with the slogan, "No Pilot, No Gas", referring to Lithuania's dependence upon
fuel from Russia.