US releases photos of 'unsafe' Russian jet intercept

Marcus Newton
June 24, 2017

Correspondents for RIA and TASS both reported the incident based on what they saw from the minister's plane.

This is only the latest incident in a continuing pattern of near-misses where Russian and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation aircraft have come into close proximity.

A North Atlantic Treaty Organisation official confirmed that three Russian aircraft, including two fighters, were tracked over the Baltic Sea Wednesday. Several Su-34 jets beefed up Shoigu's escort for his return trip, which saw several North Atlantic Treaty Organisation planes tracking the planes from some distance away. The Russian minister also said the North Atlantic Alliance is strengthening its presence in the Baltic countries, improving its infrastructure in ports, airports and other military units.

"This is tied with the upsurge of military activity of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries in Eastern Europe", Shoigu added. A television network run by the ministry released a video online that it described as showing the incident.

Shoigu was reported to be en route to the Russian exclave ofKaliningrad for a meeting to discuss how well Russia's western flank was defended.

The Russian plane was armed and flew "erratically", a United States official told CNN, noting that the maneuvers were deemed unsafe due in part to the proximity of the aircraft.

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US European Command released dramatic photos that show the moment a Russian Su-27 fighter jet flew within five feet of a US Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft over the Baltic Sea - an encounter US officials assessed to be "unsafe".

Russia state media quoted the Defense Ministry as saying that the Russian jet intercepted two U.S. RC-135s back-to-back, with one of them making a provocative turn toward the Russian plane.

Russian fighter jets routinely approach and identify aircraft in the skies over the Baltic and Kaliningrad, but most of these actions stay within safe limits.

Apparently referring to the same episode, Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said the US aircraft "did nothing to provoke this behavior".

"This interaction was determined to be unsafe", EUCOM said. "This is an exception, not the norm, but we were again operating in worldwide airspace and did nothing to provoke", Davis said.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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