News outlets report that a Russian fighter jet buzzed a US aircraft in an “unsafe close-range intercept” over the Black Sea on Wednesday, going as close as 10 feet of the US plane. The video shows photos of both planes involved, as well as actual footage of the incident, showing the two planes in the air as soldier on a ship watch the exchange from below.
Jeff Davis, spokesperson for the Pentagon, said that the incident involved a Russian SU-27 jet and a US Navy P-8A Poseidon plane. The potentially dangerous situation lasted for 19 minutes. Another US official told CNN that the Russian jet honed in as close as 10 feet at one point, while the American plane was completing routine missions in international airspace at the time of the encounter.
Davis said in a statement, “These actions have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions, and could result in a miscalculation or accident.” The US government has long been protesting Russian interceptions of and close encounters with its aircraft. This is the latest in a string of several more similar incidences this year.
In April, Russian SU-27 fighters conducted “barrel rolls” over American KC-135 planes over the Baltic Sea in two separate events.
Russia has always defended its actions in the past, but officials have yet to comment on this latest situation. Tensions have been high in the Black Sea since Russia started military exercises involving around 12,500 military servicemen and its Black Sea operations based in Crimea. The country took Crimea from Ukraine, annexing it for military operations in 2014 in a move that put Russia under international sanctions.
The Russian Defense Ministry has posted videos showing its fighter crews performing intercept drills.
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are set to meet Thursday to discuss the current Syrian conflict.