A Russian Su-30 fighter jet buzzed a Navy reconnaissance plane flying in the Black Sea while conducting a routine patrol in international airspace Saturday, an official told Fox News.
The Russian jet crossed 50 feet in front of the Navy P-8 in full afterburner causing “violent turbulence,” the official said. The provocation lasted 24 minutes.
It appears to be first known incident of this type since June, when an armed Russian fighter jet buzzed a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance aircraft over the Baltic Sea. The Russian Su-27 jet had air-to-air missiles under its wings and approached the U.S. Air Force RC-135 recon jet “rapidly,” coming within 5 feet of the American aircraft, officials said.
Once alongside, the Russian jet was “provocative” in its flight maneuvers and flying “erratically,” according to another official.
Earlier this month, U.S. fighter jets intercepted Russian nuclear bombers approaching the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan off the coast of North Korea.
Multiple U.S Navy F/A-18 jets were dispatched to escort two Russian TU-95 bombers away from the ship currently stationed near North Korea and operating in the Sea of Japan, according to Navy officials.
The Russian bombers, capable of executing a nuclear strike, were intercepted merely 80 miles away from the ship, said Navy officials.
Lt. Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman described the incident with the Russian air force as “safe and professional.”
Saturday’s incident, which CNN was first to report, came just weeks after the Russian foreign ministry called the U.S. an “occupying force” in Syria.
There are roughly 2,000 U.S. troops on the ground in Syria, although the Pentagon acknowledges only 500. It’s unclear how many will remain following the defeat of ISIS in Raqqa, the terror group’s so-called capital.
There are approximately 3,000 ISIS fighters left in Iraq and Syria according to U.S. officials after reaching a height of nearly 40,000 fighters two years ago.
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