Video shows close call between Russian jet and US Navy plane

Georgia Reed
February 3, 2018

The U.S. Navy released more footage Wednesday of what it described as an unsafe intercept of a Navy aircraft by a Russian fighter jet over the Black Sea on Monday. The U.S. Navy said its plane was operating within the bounds of worldwide law and did not do anything to provoke Russian activity. American officials who monitored the incident have said the Russian jet flew within a few feet of a U.S. RC-135 reconnaissance plane over the Baltic Sea.

As confirmed by U.S. Naval Forces Europe, a Russian SU-27 engaged in an unsafe interaction with a U.S. EP-3 in worldwide airspace, with the Russia pilot closing to within 5 feet and crossing directly in front of the EP-3's flight path.

Russian Federation has denied the incident in Syria took place.

Meanwhile, Russian Defense Ministry claimed they behaved "strictly in accordance with global airspace rules" and "approached the aircraft at a safe distance" to identify it as it approached the border of Russian airspace. In December, the United Kingdom's military warned that Russian vessels may be trolling communications and internet cables that run along the ocean floor in several corners of the world.

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The Russian Defense Ministry said the Russian fight jet was acting "in accordance with worldwide standards", the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported.

"For the Russian fighter aircraft to fly this close to the U.S. Navy aircraft, especially for extended periods of time, is unsafe", Ellis said.

In June, a Russian fighter flew toward a U.S. Air Force surveillance plane over the Baltic Sea with a "high rate of closure speed and poor control of the aircraft", U.S. European Command said, according to Stars and Stripes. "The Russian Su-27 then proceeded to enter the flight path of the U.S. Navy EP-3, crossing within 10 feet and executing a sharp dive below, which resulted in violent turbulence for the U.S. EP-3 and its crew members".

By accusing Russia of breaching this treaty, the State Department is signaling a shift in how it handles such actions by the Russians. "Unsafe actions‎ increase the risk of miscalculation and midair collisions".

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