Two United States Air Force B-52 bombers were intercepted by a Su-35 fighter jet over the Baltic Sea, the Russian Ministry of Defense has claimed.
According to Russia, the B-52 bombers were detected by air defense radars moving towards to the country’s border on Monday, March 20, 2023.
Details about the operation were shared in a Twitter post by the Russian Embassy in the US.
“Russian air defence radars detected 2 aerial targets flying in the direction of Russia state border over the Baltic Sea,” the social media post read. “The targets were classified as 2 US Air Force B-52H strategic bombers. A Su-35 fighter jet scrambled to prevent a violation of Russia state border.”
It is understood that a video of the Russian interception was also shared through Telegram by the fighter pilot of the Su-35.
In this unconfirmed video, a single B-52 can be seen flying at high altitude while the Su-35 flies close-by to the aircraft.
Though a common occurrence in the region, the interception took place in a context of rising tension between Russia and the US after an MQ-9 Reaper drone crashed while flying above the Black Sea on March 14, 2023.
Video footage released by the US Air Force showed a Russian Su-27 strike the propeller of the Reaper drone after repeatedly dumping fuel over it. It is understood that the Reaper was brought down in international waters.
“It probably sank to some significant depths, so any recovery operation from a technical standpoint would be very difficult,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said.
The White House National Security Council said it was “impossible” for the Russians to gain any significant material from the drone.
On March 17, 2023, Russia presented awards to both fighter pilots involved in the downing of the Reaper.