International News

    Russian plane ‘inspected by police at Heathrow Airport’

    The Russian A321 Airbus, thought to be Aeroflot flight SU2582, was reportedly searched by UK authorities after flying from Sheremetyevo in Moscow to London. 
    Officers boarded the flight “without grounds” shortly after it touched down at London Heathrow airport at 3.37pm local time on Friday. 
    Shortly after landing, police “insistently” asked passengers and crew to leave, but the pilots refused, according to multiple reports coming from Russia.  
    “After the passengers left the aircraft, unexpectedly policemen insistently demanded the crew to leave the plane in order to conduct an inspection there in the absence of the crew,” a source told Russian news agency Interfax. 
    Scotland Yard has denied its officers are carrying out a search of the plane, despite multiple reports to the contrary. 
    A spokeswoman told Daily Star Online: “I’ve spoken to our control room at London Heathrow and have confirmed that it is not our force.”
    In a statement on Twitter, the Met Police posted: “We are aware of a story circulating on social media. Please be advised that Metropolitan Police are not conducting a search of an Airbus inbound from Moscow at Heathrow.”
    But an Aeroflot source has confirmed a plane is being searched at Heathrow, Tom Parfitt, Moscow correspondent for The Times, tweeted. 
    He wrote: “Aeroflot confirms it has plane being inspected at Heathrow. Russian embassy in London says it is sending representatives to the scene. Russian foreign ministry says it is ‘inadmissible, dangerous irresponsible’ and cd be ‘provocation’ by UK to save reputation over Skripal affair.”
    British police “did not explain the reasons” why they were searching the plane and the crew, the source told Interfax. 
    They insisted on inspecting the “entire crew”, the source added. 
    Moscow has reportedly called the incident “another provocation” amid simmering tensions over the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy.
    Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said: “The British authorities asked the Russian crew, including the captain, to leave the plane.
    “The commander of the aircraft proposed the inspection to be conducted in his presence as he’s forbidden from leaving the plane in accordance with the regulations.
    “At the moment, the police proceed with the search without releasing the commander from the cabin and preventing him from being present during the inspection.”

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