Navy releases videos of 'unsafe' intercept by Russian jet

Saul Bowman
February 2, 2018

A new video shared by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet to their YouTube channel shows a Russian Su-27 flying closely past a U.S. EP-3 Aries aircraft on Monday.

"Should American pilots, knowing this fact, fall into depression or succumb to any phobias, we advise the U.S. side to exclude these flight routes near Russia's borders in the future, or return to the negotiating table and agree on their rules", said the defense ministry, reported Russian state news agency TASS. "For the Russian fighter aircraft to fly this close to the U.S. Navy aircraft, especially for extended periods of time, is unsafe".

The Russian Foreign Ministry has commented on the incident in which Russia's Sukhoi-27 jet on January 29 intercepted a U.S. plane moving towards the Russian border, saying the USA reaction is a new attempt to accuse Russia of aggressive moves and stir up Russophobic sentiment in media.

The defense ministry claimed the incident should be called an "escort" as the SU-27 flew alongside the American plane for over two hours and "prevented" the aircraft from moving closer to the Russian mainland.

The Russian military dispatched a Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet, forcing the Navy spy plane to end its mission early.

"The Aerospace Force will continue to maintain reliable protection of Russia's airspace", the Russian Defense Ministry said, according to TASS, a Russian news agency. That said and given the risks involved, the question remains did is Russian Federation violating global laws?

The US Navy has been conducting reconnaissance missions over the Black Sea at a high rate since the annexation of Crimea by Russian Federation in 2014.

The US State Department harshly criticized the interception claiming that Moscow was harassing an American plane over global waters and thus flouting worldwide laws.

Monday's intercept is the latest in a string of "unsafe" intercepts that the Russian military has conducted.

"The maneuvers of the Russian fighter jet on January 29 were standard, absolutely legal and perfectly safe for the American surveillance plane", the Russian Ministry said. "Unsafe actions increase the risk of miscalculation and midair collisions". The U.S State Department has characterized the incidence, which has raised uproars as an "unsafe" flyby.

"The smallest lapse of focus or error in airmanship by the intercepting aircrew can have disastrous consequences, Ellis said".

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