A Russian SU-27 fighter aircraft came within 5 feet of a US Navy EP-3 signals reconnaissance aircraft during an intercept over the Black Sea on January 29, the US state department said.
The event took place in international airspace, US Naval Forces Europe confirmed adding that the Russian aircraft crossed directly in front of the EP-3’s flight path.
The duration of the intercept lasted two hours and 40 minutes.
“While the US aircraft was operating under international law, the Russian side was flagrantly violating existing agreements and international law, in this case the 1972 Agreement for the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas (INCSEA),” the US state department said in a statement This is but the latest example of Russian military activities disregarding international norms and agreements. We call on Russia to cease these unsafe actions that increase the risk of miscalculation, danger to aircrew on both sides, and midair collisions.
Russian defense ministry denied the report noting that the “flight took place in accordance with international rules of airspace use.”
“The crew of the fighter followed him, avoiding the violation of the airspace of the Russian Federation with observance of all necessary security measures.
“After the spy plane of the US Navy changed the flight path from the airspace of the Russian Federation, the Russian SU-27 fighter returned to the airfield,” the Russian defense ministry stated.
The US Navy subsequently shared short video footage of the event.