The authorities have given no information as to the reason for the emergency measures. bne IntelliNews staff report that fighter jets have been scrambled and are flying over the city, according to telephone calls to residents in the city. The Telegram channel Baza also reports there are jet fighters in the air over the city.
The cities main airport Pulkovo has been shut and air traffic control and initiated the “carpet” plan that is a protocol used when there is an unknown object in the air that can jeopardise the safety of commercial flights.
Flighttracker online service also shows the skies over St Petersburg as empty of planes. The carpet plan is used when there is an illegal border cross or unidentified aircraft in the controlled airspace.
A Vedomosti source in the Ministry of Defence confirmed the information about the introduction of the Carpet plan.
Later, the government of St Petersburg reported that flights were delayed until midday local time, reports Vedomosti, while the airport itself was operating normally.
“At the Pulkovo airport, a flight delay of up to 12 hours has been announced. The airport and its services are operating normally,” the statement said.
Local media, Fontanka, citing sources , reported that an unidentified object was seen 160-200 km from St. Petersburg. According to the publication, these messages were transferred by the Ministry of Defence to the Pulkovo airport.