A Russian Su-27 fighter jet has intercepted a US Navy EP-3E Aries plane over the Black Sea near Russian airspace and escorted it away in a safe manner, the Russian Defence Ministry said.
Meanwhile, the US Navy announced that a US reconnaissance aircraft was intercepted earlier on Monday by a Russian fighter jet while flying in international airspace over the Black Sea, Xinhua news agency reported.
The US reconnaissance aircraft was spotted approaching Russia’s airspace and was immediately identified by the Su-27 fighter jet “at a safe distance,” Russian news agencies reported, citing a defence ministry statement.
After reporting back to the communications intelligence unit, the fighter jet escorted it away from the Russian airspace “in compliance with all security and safety requirements,” it said.
According to the Russian Defence Ministry, the fighter jet returned to its home base after the US plane altered its flight course away from Russian airspace.
The US Navy, in a statement, called the interaction as “determined to be unsafe”, saying the Russian SU-27 conducted “a high speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, putting at risk the pilots and crew”.
Also on Monday, a Pentagon spokesperson said that the Russian jet came “very, very close” to the US EP-3 aircraft, adding that it made an additional pass after activating its afterburners to create more turbulence.
There was no communication between the two planes and the encounter lasted about 25 minutes, Spokesperson Eric Pahon told reporters at the Pentagon.
The Pentagon said that the EP-3 was conducting routine operations while the encounter happened, not provoking the Russian activity.