Russian fighter intercepts U.S. spy plane near Russian airspace
CGTN

A Russian Su-27 fighter jet has intercepted a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft approaching the Russian airspace over the Baltic Sea, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

The Russian fighter jet approached the target at a safe distance and identified it as an RC-135 reconnaissance plane of the U.S. Air Force, according to the statement.

"The Russian fighter jet returned safely to its home base after the foreign aircraft flew away from the Russian border," the ministry said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said the Russian special services had ended the work of hundreds of spies and informers in the country last year.

In a speech to the officers of the FSB security service, which he led before becoming president, Putin said foreign intelligence agencies were stepping up activity in Russia.

A still image taken from video footage released by Russia's Defence Ministry on January 24, 2019, shows a Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet intercepting a Swedish reconnaissance plane over the Baltic Sea. /VCG Photo

A still image taken from video footage released by Russia's Defence Ministry on January 24, 2019, shows a Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet intercepting a Swedish reconnaissance plane over the Baltic Sea. /VCG Photo

"Thanks to successfully executed special operations, the activity of 129 spies and 465 informers was stopped" in 2018, he said.

At the beginning of this year, the Russian military said that a Russian Su-27 fighter jet was scrambled to identify and intercept Swedish spy plane near the border.

Back to November 5, 2018, the Russian ministry said that a Russian Su-27 fighter jet intercepted a U.S. Navy EP-3E Aries plane over the Black Sea near Russian airspace and escorted it away in a safe manner.

(With input from agencies)

(Cover: This image released by the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) shows a Russian SU-27 Flanker fighter plane photographed from a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance jet on June 19, 2017, over the Baltic Sea. /VCG Photo )