Russian jets fly close to US forces

Russian aircraft encounters US air forces in international airspace in Black Sea

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told CNN on Thursday that a Russian fighter jet, flying at high speed, came within 10 feet of a US Air Force reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace over the Black Sea late May.

The Russian fighter jet Sukhoi Su-27 interceptor, flew alongside the US RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft at the same height, broke off, and flew too close to the plane before it left the area, said officials.

An American high-ranking defence official described the encounter as “an unsafe intercept" by the Russians, reported by ABC News.

This is not the first time the two superpowers engaged in series of military encounters.

The Pentagon released a video of US Naval Forces Europe-Africa/US 6th Fleet of May 30 about a “routine encounter” of a Russian warplane and a US destroyer called USS Ross in the Black Sea where the Russian aircraft Su-24 flew fastly from the American destroyer vessel.

Disclosure of the May 30 aerial incident comes as US and Russian naval officials met on Wednesday for an annual meeting in Naples, Italy, to review the terms of the 1972 Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas agreement, known as INCSEA.

The defence official said, “The meeting did discuss recent air intercepts and encounters in the air and sea in order to review agreed upon principles encapsulated in INCSEA.”

However, the official said it is not known if the May 30 aerial standoff was on the agenda, Bill Gertz from The Washington Free Beacon reported.

Gertz also added that the stepped-up Russian aerial harassment comes as US and NATO forces currently are conducting large-scale war games in the Baltic Sea known as Baltops 15.

In April there was a similar incident where the United States stated that the US RC-135U type aircraft was intercepted by a Russian SU-27 Flanker in an "unsafe and unprofessional manner.”

A Russian fighter jet conducting a dangerous aerial intercepts of US reconnaissance was the latest sign of heightened military tensions between Moscow and Washington.

Russia is constantly being accused by the West including the US of violating international rights by allegedly aiding pro-Russian separatist in eastern Ukraine fight against the government as well as annexing Crimea in March 2014.

Russia was issued several sanctions by the United States and NATO member countries on Sept. 14, 2014 aimed at restricting Moscow’s banking, energy and arms industries.

TRTWorld and agencies