Russia’s MoD Outlines Draft Resolution That Would Allow the Shooting Down of Passenger Aircraft

MOSCOW, the Russian Federation ( – A resolution, which would confirm Russian Defence Ministry authority to shoot down civilian passenger planes that violated the country’s airspace and threaten a major disaster or loss of life, including hijacked ones, has been drafted by the governing body of the Russian Armed Forces. The new document was prepared by the Russian military and was revealed last week, learned

According to the old resolution last reviewed in 1994, the attack on a plane, if it’s known to have passengers or hostages on board, was explicitly banned.

The new draft document, which last week passed the stage of public feedback, eliminates the previous ban, saying that passenger aircraft that cross into Russian airspace without authorization and do not answer warning signals or respond to warning shots can be taken down if they pose a threat to lives, a major environmental disaster or an assault on strategic targets. It also provides a procedure for how the use of lethal force can be obtained and implemented.

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Under the draft legislation, the Russian Ministry of Defence cannot shoot down aircraft if there is no “real danger of human deaths or ecological catastrophe” and if there is such, the start of the reaction must be when the planes are within 50 kilometers of Russian airspace. However, the draft resolution does not specify how such threats would be identified by the Russian military officials.

The new decree is envisaged to come into force in February this year and it aims to eliminate the discrepancy between different parts of the Russian law. Given the fact that under the current anti-terrorism legislation, the Russian armed forces are already authorized to use lethal force against civilian aircraft, the change is purely technical.

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Speaking on the draft government decree prepared by Russia’s Defence Ministry, the head of the Bureau of Military-Political Analysis, Alexander Mikhailov, stated for “Izvestiya” daily newspaper that the document is really needed because the military, who are on duty observing the fighter aircraft, must know that the law is at their side.

Mikhailov reminds that if an airplane is violating Russia’s airspace, it is accompanied by the Russian Space Force and it is possible to be shot down. Moreover, if there is reliable information that there are terrorists on board and the plane does not respond to the attempt to be stopped to enter the country’s border, it also will be shot down.

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He added that, after consultation with other agencies and manufacturers of Russian aviation facilities, the draft decree should be approved. These are the Federal Security Service, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia) and other Russian structures.

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Sources:, RT