The Russian Su-27 jet performed a "safe" but "unprofessional" intercept of a US Navy P-8 surveillance plane while flying in worldwide airspace over the Baltic Sea, Fox News reported, citing sources.
Footage of a "safe" but "unprofessional" buzzing released by the US military shows one of its P-8 surveillance planes in a close encounter with Russian aircraft in the latest round of sabre rattling from Moscow. The Navy classifies aviation intercepts simply as either safe or unsafe. The Russian jet came within 5 feet of the USA plane and crossed directly through its flight path, causing the EP-3 to fly through a trail of turbulence.
"US Navy ships and aircraft routinely interact with military units from other countries", said a Navy spokesman, who added that the Navy would provide details on any unsafe encounters.
That interaction last over two hours, according to Fox. The Russian fighter jet was an SU-27, while the U.S. Navy spy plane was a Navy P-8 maritime surveillance plane. That intercept was characterized as both unprofessional and unsafe, though the Russian military responded by claiming that their pilots behaved within the law and global norms.
The Pentagon said the US aircraft was "operating in accordance with worldwide law" and did not provoke Russian activity. "And there's a safe way to do it, which basically means avoiding a collision".
Following that incident, the US State Department issued a statement accusing the Russians of "flagrantly violating existing agreements and worldwide law".