Russia confirms flying within 20 feet of US Navy aircraft over Black Sea

Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed on Friday that a US surveillance aircraft P-8A Poseidon was intercepted by a Russian Su-30 fighter jet over the Black Sea on May 9.

“May 9, 2017, a Russian SU-27 came within approximately 20 feet of a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon while the U.S. Navy aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace,” said Captain Pamela Kunze, a spokesperson for U.S. Naval Forces Europe. “The interaction lasted 65 minutes and was considered safe and professional by the P-8A’s mission commander.”

Unlike recent interactions between Russian and US aircraft, which have been considered “unsafe and unprofessional,” spokespersons for the US and the Russian Defense Ministry have both stated the interaction was considered safe.

“The Russian fighter performed a maneuver to greet the U.S. pilots, after which the U.S. reconnaissance plane changed its course and headed away from the Russian border,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.  The statement added the Russian fighter approached the American aircraft at “a safe distance.”

The U.S. official said that, in this incident, both aircraft visually identified each other and the Russian aircraft approached the American plane in a professional manner, according to ABC News.

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