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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Army Seeks Permission to Shoot Hijacked Jets

A senior air defense official on Thursday called for legislation that would enable the military to shoot down hijacked passenger planes -- part of efforts to toughen the response to the terrorist threat in Russia.

Colonel General Yury Solovyov, the chief of the military's Special Purpose Command tasked with protecting Moscow's air space, said current laws made it impossible for him to do his job.

"I have become a hostage in this situation. My duty is to not allow air strikes upon Moscow in peacetime or wartime. But the law bans the interception of aircraft carrying passengers," Solovyov said, the Interfax-Military News Agency reported. "If I don't shoot down [a hijacked passenger plane], I will be handcuffed. If I do shoot it down, I will be handcuffed too. This is the law. I reported this to the military and political leadership and, I believe, a decision on this will be made in the near future."

"But I have made my own decision, I won't allow anything to fall on Moscow," Solovyov said in remarks broadcast on state television.

Vladimir Vasilyev, who heads the State Duma's Security Committee, said an amendment to anti-terrorist legislation currently being considered would address the loophole.

"The issue is currently being worked on and such a legal provision has been included in the bill on measures against terrorism," he said, Interfax reported.