The US EP-3 electronic surveillance plane loitered a stone throw from Crimea for hours but the Navy says the Russian Su-27 came "too close"
A Russian Su-27 aircraft has intercepted a US EP-3 spy plane in “unsafe” fashion over the Black Sea, the US Navy said. It posted video, on Twitter, showing an armed Russian fighter jet flying within meters of the spy plane.
The video, which the Navy posted on Twitter, shows a Su-27 flying close to the US spy plane, showing its underbelly before blasting away. The fighter jet appears to be armed, carrying missiles on its wing pylons.
The Russian plane stayed around the EP-3 for about 25 minutes, according to the US Navy, which insisted that its aircraft was “operating in accordance with international law.”
This interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the Su-27 conducting a high speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, putting at risk the pilots and crew,” the US Navy statement read.
The Russian Defense ministry acknowledged the incident, insisting, however, that the Su-27 kept a safe distance from the EP-3.
“The fighter’s crew reported identifying the US electronic surveillance plane and escorted it to prevent a violation of Russia’s border, while following all the safety guidelines,” the Ministry stated.
US reconnaissance planes are often taking a peek over Russian borders, unsurprisingly triggering the country’s air force that makes sure the border is not crossed. Yet the Pentagon has been repeatedly complaining about Moscow’s actions, claiming Russian pilots somehow fly in an “unprofessional” or “unsafe” manner.
At least 17 foreign planes and UAVs flew spy missions near Russia’s borders in just a week, the Defense Ministry said on November 1. Fighter jets were scrambled four times to prevent potential violations of the country’s borders.