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U.S. officials have told Fox News that an armed Russian fighter jet “buzzed” an Air Force reconnaissance aircraft on Monday in the Baltic Sea – this just one day after Russia said it would “target” American aircraft following the U.S. downing a Syrian plane over the weekend.
A Russian Su-27 jet approached an Air Force RC-135 recon jet “rapidly,” and missiles were under its wings, the officials told Fox News, noting that the Su-27 came within five feet of the American aircraft.
“Once alongside, the Russian jet was ‘provocative’ in its flight maneuvers and flying ‘erratically,’ according to another official,” Fox reported.
There have been more than 35 encounters between U.S. and Russian jets and warships in the Baltic Sea, according to reports.
But this one was “unsafe,” one official told Fox News.
It also comes one day after the Russia Defense Ministry said it would come after American aircraft and “target” them, following the downed Syrian plane over the weekend.
Russia lashed out on Monday at the United States following the U.S. Navy shooting down a Syrian aircraft that was attacking ISIS-fighting rebel forces, and said it will treat any U.S. aircraft as “air targets” after this “massive violation of international law.”
“Repeated combat actions by U.S. aviation under the cover of counterterrorism against lawful armed forces of a country that is a member of the [United Nations] are a massive violation of international law and de facto a military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic,” the Russian Defense Ministry said, according to a report.
Additionally, any Coalition aircraft “flying west of the Euphrates ‘will be tracked by the Russian ground and air anti-aircraft defense systems as air targets in the areas where Russian aviation is on combat missions in the Syrian sky,’ ” the Russian Defense Ministry said.
A Syrian regime SU-22 military jet aircraft that dropped bombs near Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters south of Tabqah, Syria, was “immediately shot down by a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft,” according to the U.S. Defense Department.
After an initial attack against the SDF fighters around 4:30 p.m. local Syrian time on Sunday, “the Coalition contacted its Russian counterparts by telephone via an established ‘de-confliction line’ to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing,” the Navy said.
But about two hours later, at 6:43 p.m., is when the Syrian warplane dropped bombs near the SDF fighters, and the U.S. stepped in.
Russia has since said it will treat any U.S. jets in Syria as “air targets.”
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, “All kinds of airborne vehicles, including aircraft and UAVs of the international Coalition detected to the west of the Euphrates River will be tracked by the Russian SAM systems as air targets,” according to a report.
The ministry said this would apply to “all aircraft, including those operating as part of the U.S.-backed Coalition,” and that the ministry will “suspend a hotline between Russia and the U.S. set up to prevent mid-air collisions.”