As a US Navy P-8 surveillance aircraft neared Russian airspace over the Baltic Sea near the Russian border, it was ‘unprofessionally’ intercepted by a Russian fighter jet which came within 20 feet of the American plane. Navy officials have said that the event was not considered ‘unsafe’, and that the pilots did not feel threatened by the maneuver. While the US Navy describes such events as ‘safe’ or ‘unsafe’, it is adamant that the Navy does not release information on events that are deemed ‘safe’.
The most recent of these to be fall into the ‘unsafe’ category took place in January, when a Navy EP-3 was intercepted over the Black Sea, which the State Department was quick to denounced as a ‘violation of existing agreements and international law’, wherein the State Department spokesman Heather Nauert described as “the latest example of Russian military activities disregarding international norms and agreements”.
Washington (CNN)A Russian Su-27 fighter jet performed an “unprofessional” intercept of a US Navy P-8 surveillance plane while it was flying in international airspace over the Baltic Sea Tuesday, two defense officials told CNN.
The Russian jet came within about 20 feet of the US aircraft, one official said, adding that the encounter lasted about nine minutes.
The intercept was described by officials as safe but unprofessional, though a US Navy official told CNN that the Navy does not officially classify aerial encounters that way. The Navy classifies aviation intercepts simply as either safe or unsafe.
Lt. Cdr. Zach Harrell, a spokesman for US Naval Forces Europe, declined to comment on the specific incident, saying, “US Navy ships and aircraft routinely interact with military units from other countries.”
He added that the Navy would provide information on unsafe interactions.
The last unsafe intercept of a US Navy aircraft by a Russian jet occurred in January when a Russian Su-27 jet flew within five feet of a US Navy EP-3, forcing the Navy plane to fly through its jet wash.
The US Navy deemed that intercept unsafe and unprofessional.
Following that incident, the US State Department issued a statement accusing the Russians of “flagrantly violating existing agreements and international law.”
The American military has once again taken to the skies near the Russian border in surveillance activities, despite being warded off by Russian Air forces in numerous instances over the past year and a half, each time behaving as if the Russians are the ones whose activities are ‘overzealous’, and uncalled for. But the American military has publicly declared that Russia is a ‘threat’, which is often ‘aggressive’ towards its neighbors and other countries in which the US has ‘interests’.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.