Russian Jet Flies Within Feet of US Plane Over Baltic Sea
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 21, 2017,
Jun 21, 2017, 12:17
A Russian Su-27 fighter has reportedly buzzed a U.S. Air Force RC-135 on Monday, rapidly closing to a distance of as little as five feet, according to Fox News.
"The Russian pilot reacted to the maneuver of the RC-135 and then continued escorting the USA reconnaissance airplane until the latter changed the direction of its flight away from the Russian border", the ministry said.
Dozens of USA and allied warships also participated in the Baltic Sea exercise amid heightened tensions with Russian Federation.
The BBC reports the Russians have reported a different account of the interaction between the Russian jet and the us aircraft.
Navy Capt. Danny Hernandez says the Russian pilot was flying at a high rate of speed and had poor control of the aircraft.
This comes after a U.S. Navy jet shot down a Syrian government warplane after it was found to be "targeting U.S. -aligned fighters", Fox News noted. They also blamed the risky maneuver on the USA aircraft crew and not their own. The majority of these encounters were not seen as unsafe like Monday's interaction.
While Russia broke no global law with Monday's fly-by, USA military officials said the incident could lead to a breakdown in diplomatic relations.
According to Hernandez, the incident took place on Monday, when the RC-135 was on a "routine" mission over the Baltic Sea in global airspace.
Captain Jeff Davis also told reporters today that the USA plane did nothing to provoke this behavior from the Russian jet. U.S. Navy spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis said, "Russia is certainly within its right to exercise within global airspace, but we want them to respect worldwide standards for safety to prevent accidents".
"During the escorting, the RC-135 crew made an attempt of closing with the Russian fighter, performing a provocative turnaround toward the Su-27", the TASS news agency quoted the Russian ministry as saying.
Russia, which backs the Syrian regime, retaliated by saying that it will track all US coalition aircraft as targets.
Adding to fraught tensions in the region, the USA also shot down an armed pro-Syrian drone that it claimed had been advancing towards its forces.