Russia denies its military aircraft nearly collided with passenger jet over Sweden

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Russia's Defense Ministry has denied Swedish claims that for the second time this year a Russian military aircraft nearly collided with a passenger jet over Sweden.

Swedish officials said the Russian aircraft had turned off its transponders to avoid commercial radar and came dangerously close to colliding with a passenger jet that had taken off from Copenhagen on Friday.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Sunday that the military plane was flying at a safe distance from routes used by civilian flights and was more than 70 kilometers (42 miles) from the passenger jet.

In a statement carried by Russian news agencies, he said a NATO reconnaissance plane also was flying in the same area.

Russia in recent months has increased its military presence in the Baltic Sea area.