Russia intercepts two U.S. military jets over Baltic Sea
Russia said Tuesday it scrambled a Su-27 fighter jet to "prevent violations of the state border" by two U.S. Air Force strategic bombers flying over the Baltic Sea.
"Russia's airspace surveillance spotted two air targets approaching the state border of the Russian Federation over the Baltic Sea. A Su-27 fighter from the Baltic Fleet's air defense quick reaction alert forces was scrambled to identify the air targets and prevent the violation of the Russian state border," Russian news agency TASS reported, citing a statement by the Russian National Defense Operations Center.
The Su-27 crew identified the air targets as two U.S. B-1B strategic bombers. The Russian fighter jet safely returned to its home airbase after the foreign warplanes made a U-turn away from the Russian border, the center reported. "The Russian fighter's flight proceeded in strict compliance with international rules of airspace usage."
Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder later confirmed that U.S. aircraft were intercepted by Russia, saying the B-1 bombers were taking part in a "long-planned exercise in Europe."
It is the latest in a series of similar incidents.
Just over a week ago, Russia said two aircraft, one German and one French, were intercepted attempting to "violate" its airspace.
Mid-April, Russia dispatched a fighter jet to escort a German naval aircraft over the Baltic Sea.
The Russian defense ministry said it had scrambled jets after detecting a U.S. drone over the Black Sea, but denied causing the crash, saying the drone fell into the Black Sea due to its own sharp maneuvering.
(With input from agencies)
(Cover: This handout image taken from video released by U.S. European Command on March 16, 2023 shows onboard footage from a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 drone as it is approached the first time by a Russian Su-27 aircraft jettisoning fuel over the Black Sea, March 14, 2023. /AFP)