Lithuania denied Russian requests to return the pilot and the wreckage of his fighter plane that crashed last week in the Baltic state. As a response for it Russia suspended on Wednesday a meeting of an intergovernmental cooperation commission. The meeting was agreed upon by the two sides in September in a move to promote bilateral trade, scientific, humanitarian and cultural cooperation. “It is impossible to hold a meeting of the bilateral intergovernmental commission "in view of the situation surrounding the incident with the Russian plane and actions taken by the Lithuanian side," Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The Russian ministry expressed concern over the recent statements made by Lithuanian officials who questioned the reasons for the plane crash other than technical failures, the Interfax quoted the statement as saying.
Lithuanian prosecutors are holding the pilot, who ejected safely, on suspicion of "violating international flight regulations" after the Russian SU-27 fighter crashed near the village of Ploksciai, 90 kilometers northwest of Vilnius, Chinese View reports.
Moscow said the crash was an accident and insisted on the quickest return of the pilot Major. Valery Troyanov and the wreckage of the plane which was flying as part of a convoy en route from St. Petersburg to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. Russia said the plane was flying through an agreed "corridor" over the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, but Lithuania said the plane did not have permission to enter its air space.
Lithuanian prosecutors said the 36-year-old pilot can not be released until the investigation finds the plane crashed due to technical failure.