US Navy releases video showing dramatic close pass by Russian warplane in Black Sea

Countering reports in Russian state media that USS Ross acted 'aggressively'

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The Independent Online

The US Navy has released dramatic footage of a close pass by a Russian military jet as tensions continue to rise in the Black Sea.

The Pentagon accused Moscow of ordering several threatening passes in recent days, and took the unusual measure of posting a video from on board the USS Ross in a bid to counter Russian state media reports.

Russia’s defence minister has claimed that US missile ships operating near its territorial waters “pose a danger to strategic stability” between the countries, and a military source quoted by RIA Novosti said the USS Ross had “acted provocatively and aggressively”.

The plane can be seen and heard flying very close to the USS Ross, currently on operations in the Black Sea

The video, which the US Navy posted to YouTube on Monday, shows a Russian Su-24 attack plane passing within just 500 metres of the American destroyer.

In a statement accompanying the video, it said that “both were operating in international waters and airspace”.

“Ross continued on her mission after observing the aircraft return to base,” US officials said. “At no time did Ross act aggressively nor did she deviate from her planned operations. The conduct of her crew has been and continues to be professional.”

According to the US Navy, sailors on board the USS Ross observed that the Russian jet’s wings were “clean” – that it carried no weapons. It said the plane was observed returning to base.

The clash is the latest example of military encounters between Russia and Western militaries, as tensions continue over the Ukraine crisis.

Earlier in May, both Britain and Sweden said they had scrambled fighters to intercept Russian bombers near their territory. Last month, the US said it was filing a complaint to Russia over a “sloppy” and unsafe interception of a US reconnaissance plane in international airspace over the Baltic Sea.