If this isn’t the odd story of the day, I’m not sure what is. On the heels of massive controversy, a United plane was just diverted from Russian airspace for what the pilot cited was the strangest reason.
Did Russia pick a United flight because of what happened on the now-infamous video of a passenger being dragged off or because they’re mad at us for what happened in Syria?
The Daily Caller reports:
A United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Shanghai, China was diverted from flying over Russian airspace for “diplomatic reasons” early Wednesday morning, passengers on the flight say.
Those diplomatic concerns forced the flight to refuel at Tokyo’s Narita airport, the flight’s captain told passengers, several of whom posted about it on social media.
On @United 857 enroute to PVG, diverted to NRT. Captain: Due to diplomatic reasons, Russia denied access to air space. Now refuelling
— brianlinca (@brianlinca) April 12, 2017
One passenger named Andy Brown says that the airplane almost ran out of fuel before landing at Narita.
“United probably will not tell the public about this.”
Reached by Skype, Brown told The Daily Caller that he makes the flight to Shanghai about once a month and has never had a fight diverted.
— Rǫgnvaldr ór Moskviæ (@1stChairmanMeow) April 12, 2017
It is not entirely clear what diplomatic concerns may have forced the diversion. The most obvious explanation would be the tense relationship between the U.S. and Russia over Syria’s use of chemical weapons during an attack on April 4.
The White House said on Tuesday that the Russian government has engaged in a cover-up to shift blame from the Syrian regime for the attacks, which involved the use of sarin gas and killed 100 people. Syria and Russia are allies.
In 2014, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev floated the idea of denying Western airlines access to Russian airspace in response to sanctions.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is also currently in Russia. He met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday and will meet with Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.
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