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Thursday 3 May 2018 - 07:36

Russian Su-27 intercepts US spy plane over Baltic

Story Code : 722071
A Russian air force Sukhoi Su-27 aircraft (file photo)
A Russian air force Sukhoi Su-27 aircraft (file photo)
The incident took place on Tuesday, when a Russian Sukhoi Su-27 jet flew within 20 feet of a US Navy P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane flying off Russian coast.
 
American officials said that pilots onboard the Poseidon did not feel threatened by the Russian jet's maneuver.  
 
A Navy spokesman declined to release the details but described the encounter as "safe."
 
"Due to standing DOD policy, we do not release the details of safe interactions," said Lieutenant Commander Zach Harrell, a spokesman for US Naval Forces Europe. "If an unsafe interaction occurs in the future, we will be sure to provide you more information at that time."
 
Commonly referred to as the Pentagon’s most effective submarine hunting weapon, the P-8 aircraft is capable of using torpedoes, depth charges, SLAM-ER missiles, Harpoon anti-ship missiles and other weapons.
 
Russia has been critical of the US military's presence near its territorial waters in the Baltic and Black seas, often using close fly-bys to keep American boats and aircraft away.
 
The last of such encounters happened in late January, when a US EP-3 Aries plane was intercepted by a Russian Sukhoi SU-27 fighter jet over international waters.
 
US military officials said then that the intercept was “unsafe,” accusing the Russian pilot of cutting "directly through the EP-3's flight path, causing the EP-3 to fly through the SU-27's jet wash.”
 
The Russian Defense Ministry, however, rejected Washington's account of the encounter, saying the interception "took place in strict accordance with international rules of airspace use."
 
The ministry blamed the US plane for flying too close to Russian airspace.
 
The Kremlin has repeatedly censured what it perceives as mounting anti-Russia hysteria and Russophobia in Europe, and calls NATO's military buildup at its doorstep a threat to its national security.
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