The Russian military has denied allegations that its bombers jeopardized air safety during a patrol mission over the Sea of Norway.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov dismissed reports in Iceland that Russian bombers with their transponders switched off flew dangerously close to an Icelandic passenger jet last Thursday. A transponder emits a signal that allows the identification of an aircraft.

Konashenkov said Tuesday that Russian Tu-160 bombers were flying at a safe distance from passenger planes and had their transponders switched on. He added that the bombers were escorted by NATO jets.

Konashenkov described the reports as part of efforts to "incite Russophobia in Europe."

Amid Russia-West tensions, the U.S. and its NATO allies have repeatedly said Russian warplanes threaten air safety. Moscow has denied the accusations.