Russian Su-27 allegedly intercepts U.S. EP-3 within 5 feet
The United States Department of State claims a Russian military fighter jet “engaged in an unsafe interaction” with U.S. Navy plane in international airspace on January 29, 2018. The department notes that a Russian Su-27 flew just within five feet of a U.S. EP-3. Russia denies breaking international rules.
According to a statement by the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Naval Forces Europe confirmed that Su-27 pilot crossed directly in front of the EP-3’s flight path over the Black Sea, coming within five feet of U.S. surveillance plane. The U.S. body also notes that the incident and allegedly unsafe Russian military practices are perceived with the “highest level of concern”.
“While the U.S. aircraft was operating under international law, the Russian side was flagrantly violating existing agreements and international law, in this case the 1972 Agreement for the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas (INCSEA),” is noted in the statement. “This is but the latest example of Russian military activities disregarding international norms and agreements. We call on Russia to cease these unsafe actions that increase the risk of miscalculation, danger to aircrew on both sides, and midair collisions”.
The Russian Defense Ministry acknowledges that an “unidentified air target” was spotted over the Black Sea approaching Russian airspace and that it was intercepted by Russian fighter jet, but notes that the engagement was conducted "strictly in accordance with international rules", CNN reports.
"A Su-27 fighter was sent to intercept the target and approached the aircraft at a safe distance and identified it as an ER-3E (Aries II) US reconnaissance aircraft," a statement by the Russian Defense Ministry said. "The crew of the fighter jet reported the identification of the American reconnaissance aircraft and accompanied it, preventing it from violating Russian airspace, observing all necessary security measures."
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