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Russian Defense Ministry proposes law to allow shooting down of passenger planes

Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Nikolsky Alexei/TASS/Zuma Press/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Russia’s Defense Ministry has outlined draft legislation that would allow Russian forces to shoot down civilian passenger planes within the country’s airspace.

The draft document placed on the government’s list of proposed legislation says passenger planes that cross into Russian airspace without authorization and do not answer warning signals or respond to warning shots can be shot down if they are deemed to pose a threat of mass deaths, ecological catastrophe, or an assault on strategic targets.

The draft legislation also says the Defense Ministry must start reacting to unidentified planes when they are within 50 kilometers of Russian airspace.

According to the draft legislation, passenger planes cannot be shot down if there is no “real danger of human deaths or ecological catastrophe.”

The draft bill does not specify how Russian military official would identify such threats.

In 1994, the Russian government adopted a resolution that bans military forces from shooting down civilian planes if passengers are known to be aboard.