Lithuania handed a formal protest to Russia on Thursday complaining its big neighbour's military jet fighter had violated the Baltic state's airspace two days earlier.
Lithuania's foreign ministry said a Russian Su-27 jet fighter had flown 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) into its airspace on Tuesday evening, before returning to the neighbouring Baltic territory of Kaliningrad that belongs to Russia.
The Russian ambassador to Lithuania "received a protest note over the Lithuanian airspace violation", the ministry said in a statement.
Lithuania and fellow Baltic states Estonia and Latvia, which won independence in 1991 after five decades of Soviet rule, have strained relations with Moscow and are sensitive to any military moves by Russia.
Grappling with a shortage of fighter planes, the three Baltic countries, which joined NATO and the European Union in 2004, rely on NATO partners to police their skies from a base in Lithuania.
In 2005, a Russian SU-27 aircraft crashed on the Lithuanian territory close to Kaliningrad, with technical and human errors blamed for the accident that caused no casualties.
by Nina Larson Â© 2012 AFP
Date: Mar 29, 2012