A pair of Russian Su-30SM fighter jets intercepted a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft over the Black Sea on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Russia’s Ministry of Defense tweeted, “#Footage On July 6 in the evening, two #Su30SM fighters of the Russian #BlackSeaFleet’s maritime aviation & air defence on-duty forces were scrambled for escorting a Boeing #P8Poseidon aircraft over the #BlackSea #RussianAirForce #AirEscort #RussianPlanes #AircraftScramble.”
In a further statement shared on its website, the Russian Defense Ministry said, “On the eve of July 6, Russian means of airspace control detected an air target approaching the State border of the Russian Federation over the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea. To identify the air target and prevent violation of the State Border of the Russian Federation, two Su-30 fighters from the duty forces of the naval aviation and air defence of the Black Sea Fleet were raised into the air.”
Russia said its pair of fighter jets identified the U.S. Navy maritime patrol plane and “escorted it over the Black Sea.”
“The flight of the Russian combat aircraft took place in strict accordance with international rules for the use of airspace,” Russia’s Defense Ministry added. “The state border of the Russian Federation was not violated.”
The Russian aircraft intercept comes about two weeks after Russia said its warships and aircraft fired warning shots at a British warship operating in the Black Sea. Russian defense officials claimed a Russian warship fired warning shots and a Russian warplane dropped bombs near the United Kingdom warship HMS Defender after it crossed into Russian territorial waters. The U.K.’s Ministry of Defense denied hearing warning shots and instead assumed the shots were part of a nearby Russian gunnery exercise.
Russian President Vladimir Putin later accused the U.S. of involvement in the British warship’s “provocation” and said the Russian navy could have sunk the British warship without setting off a new world war.
On June 10, another U.S. surveillance aircraft was intercepted by Russian fighter jets flying near Russia’s airspace. In that incident, a Russian Su-35 fighter jet was deployed to intercept a U.S. Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft flying over the Pacific Ocean.
Mutual intercepts between Russian and U.S. aerial forces are not uncommon. Last year, U.S. aircraft attached to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) were frequently deployed to respond to Russian aircraft flying towards U.S. and Canadian airspace.
While this latest interaction between U.S. and Russian aircraft occurred without incident, other past intercepts of U.S. aircraft by Russia have seen Russian fighter jets fly dangerous maneuvers next to U.S. aircraft.