A Russian fighter jet flew within 10 feet of a U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft, in what American officials called an unsafe intercept over the Black Sea, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, says the Russian SU-27 Flanker fighter made the unsafe maneuver Wednesday near a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft that was conducting routine operations in international airspace.
Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in a statement Wednesday that the Poseidon aircraft did not have its transponders turned on, and that it approached Russia's southern border twice.
He said Russian jets were deployed to intercept the incoming aircraft and "Russian pilots acted in strict compliance with international flight rules."
According to the U.S., the Russian jet conducted four intercepts of the Poseidon, and the one that was considered unsafe lasted about 19 minutes.
Russian jets have occasionally flown close to other U.S. aircraft and Navy ships in the region. In one more dramatic incident earlier this year, Russian jetsbuzzed over the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea, coming within 30 feet of the warship.