Russian jet intercepts US Navy spy plane over Black Sea

An EP-3E Aries performs a flyby.                        U.S. Navy  Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bobby J. Siens

An EP-3E Aries performs a flyby. U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bobby J. Siens

The Su-27 fighter passed ahead of the US Navy EP-3 Aries, which was taking part in a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military exercise above the Black Sea on Monday.

The U.S. command complained in a statement about the low-level flight made by the SU-27, during its follow-up maneuver to the U.S. exploration aircraft, whose presence in that region is rejected by the Russian government.

It said the intercept lasted about 25 minutes.

The U.S. EP-3 Aries came out of Souda Bay, Greece, and was conducting routine operations.

While the Navy acknowledged that the Russian military "is within its right to exercise within worldwide airspace" it criticized the encounter for being "irresponsible". "We expect them to behave within global standards set to ensure safety and to prevent incidents".

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, after the United States spy plane had altered its flight course away from Russian airspace, the Russian Su-27 fighter jet returned to its home base.

Russia's embassy in the U.S. issued a statement insisting its fighter had "followed all necessary safety procedures".

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"There's just absolutely no reason for this type of behavior", said Pahon, who noted that the American aircraft was flying a routine mission in worldwide airspace "and the Russian aircraft kind of came out of nowhere and did not one, but two passes close to our aircraft".

In addition, the Russians from the air on a low flyby provoked stably ship USS Mount Whitney in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation exercises Trident Juncture in Norway, which ends today.

The Russian Defense ministry acknowledged the incident, insisting, however, that the Su-27 kept a safe distance from the EP-3.

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

The Russian jet approached and identified the aircraft as a U.S.

The EP-3 is an electronic warfare plane used by the US Navy for surveillance.

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