A total of 122 military or State aircraft were granted permission to land in Malta in the last year, while there were 380 requests for similar planes to enter Maltese airsapce.

Foreign Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela gave the information in Parliament on Wednesday in reply to a question by Opposition MP Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici.

From a separate reply it also transpired that during the corresponding period, between November 2018 and October 2019, the directorate for Protocol had received 48 requests for military or state ships to enter Maltese waters.

In April, Times of Malta reported that Malta turned down a Russian request to use its airspace to fly military aircraft to Venezuela.

Malta’s decision came a month after it consented to a similar request, with Russian military planes and personnel eventually spotted in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas.

Maltese government sources had confirmed that this was the second time within that month that the island had rejected a request from Russia to use its airspace for flights to Venezuela.

Unnamed sources quoted in international media reports on the matter said the Russian embassy in Malta had not taken kindly these refusals.

The matter was on the agenda of a meeting in Moscow which Mr Abela had with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, during a three-day visit last August.