Russian Knights may Miss British Show

The Knights flying their larger Su-27s side by side with the MiG-29s of the Russian Swifts team at a recent show. Vladimir Filonov

The elite Russian Knights aerobatics squadron might not perform at a British air show next week because a state agency failed to grant permission in time.

The Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation did not issue a license for the team to travel abroad with its military jets by the deadline Thursday, RIA-Novosti reported.

The license can be issued only after the Russian government signs a related decree sanctioning the trip.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry criticized British officials for failing to issue visas to Russians who were set to participate in the Farnborough International Air Show, which runs from Monday through Sunday.

“Unfortunately, it’s not the first time that red tape has endangered the participation of our representatives in international events held in Britain,” the ministry said in a statement. It insisted that the Russians had filed their paperwork on time.

Russian media reports speculated that the failure to issue the visas could have been a tit-for-tat response to Russia’s stonewalling on talks to install a transitional government in Syria.

Britain denied the allegation and blamed the visa flop on consulates being overloaded with requests for the upcoming London Olympics.

Representatives of state weapons trader Rosoboronexport and aircraft producer Irkut Corporation, which is part of the state-run conglomerate United Aviation Corporation, were among those who did not get visas in time, Gazeta.ru reported, citing an industry source.

Irkut had planned to debut its new Yak-130 fighter jet at the show.

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