The U.S. Navy released footage of the unsafe intercept of a Navy plane by a Russian fighter plane over the Black Sea earlier this week.
The 4-second clip shows a plane passing quickly in front of the camera.
According to U.S. officials, a Russian Su-27 got within five feet of a U.S. EP-3 Aries flying in international airspace. “This interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the Su-27 closing to within five feet and crossing directly through the EP-3’s flight path, causing the EP-3 to fly through the Su-27’s jet wash,” said the Navy.
The intercept’s duration lasted about 2 hours and 40 minutes, it said.
“The Russian military is within its right to operate within international airspace, but they must behave within international standards set to ensure safety and prevent incidents, including the 1972 Agreement for the Prevention of Incidents on and Over the High Seas (INCSEA). Unsafe actions increase the risk of miscalculation and midair collisions,” the Pentagon also said.
It said, “The U.S. aircraft was operating in accordance with international law and did not provoke this Russian activity.”
One official, who was not named, told CNN that the intercepted U.S. Navy aircraft was forced to end its mission prematurely.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that the Su-27 flew “strictly in accordance with international rules” during the intercept.
“A Su-27 fighter was sent to intercept the target and approached the aircraft at a safe distance and identified it as an ER-3E (Aries II) US reconnaissance aircraft,” the Russian defense ministry statement said. “The crew of the fighter jet reported the identification of the American reconnaissance aircraft and accompanied it, preventing it from violating Russian airspace, observing all necessary security measures.”