Russian fighter jet 'intercepts' US Air Force reconnaissance plane over Baltic Sea

The US slammed the move as 'unsafe'

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Washington has criticised Moscow after a Russian fighter jet intercepted a US reconnaissance flight in an "unsafe and professional move", in the latest of increasingly aggressive air operations by Moscow.

Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright said the US was filing a complaint to Russian following the incident over the Baltic Sea on 7 April.

According to the Pentago, a US RC-135U plane was flying in international airspace north of Poland when a Russian SU-27 fighter intercepted the aircraft at a high rate of speed from the rear. The jet then passed twice more using “unsafe and unprofessional maneuvers” in close proximity.

The incidents come amid growing tensions between the West and Russia, following the latter's annexation of Crimea and its involvement in the bloody conflict in Ukraine.

"Unprofessional air intercepts have the potential to cause harm to all aircrews involved. More importantly, the careless actions of a single pilot have the potential to escalate tensions between countries," Wright said.

"This air activity takes place in the context of a changed security environment in view of Russia's aggression against Ukraine," he said.

 

However, Russian officials have defended their pilot against any wrongdoing, according to several news reports see by the Associated Press.

Last April, the Washington protested to Moscow after a Russian fighter jet intercepted a US reconnaissance plane in international airspace over the Sea of Okhotsk.

The RAF has also had to deal with Russian aircrafts, after a Typhoon fighter jet was scrambled to escort a Russian aircraft away from British airspace off the South Coast in January – just two days after two Russian Bear Bombers were intercepted off the Cornish coast.

Additional reporting by AP

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