21:36 GMT27 February 2020
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    The Pentagon reacted to the flyby of the US Navy P-8A Poseidon by Russian Su-30 fighter jet over the Black Sea on Tuesday by calling it "safe and professional." Speaking to Sputnik, military analyst Alexander Zhilin noted the change in the US' rhetoric, which previously labelled events like this as "unsafe" and "unprofessional."

    On May 9, Russia scrambled an Su-30 fighter jet to intercept a target over the Black Sea, which was approaching Russia's state border.

    "The pilot of the Russian plane identified the air object as a US P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft. The Russian fighter conducted a greeting maneuver after which the American reconnaissance plane changed its route and moved away from the Russian border," the Russia's Defense Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

    On Thursday, the Pentagon commented on the interaction, calling the Russian jet Su-27.

    Capt. Pamela Kunze, a spokeswoman for US Naval Forces Europe said the Su-27 approached the P-8A Poseidon while it was "conducting routine operations in international airspace."

    She added that the interaction "was considered safe and professional" by the P-8A's mission commander.

    Russian defense analyst, retired Colonel Alexander Zhilin, a military expert who heads the Center for the Study of Applied Problems of National Security pointed to Radio Sputnik at the change in the US rhetoric.

    Earlier the US deemed such interactions quite the opposite, calling them "unsafe" and "unprofessional," he said.

    "In the midst of this propaganda campaign, the US military often made fools of themselves. Now they seem to have changed their tone," he told Sputnik.

    He also commented on the reported distance of the flyby: the Russian fighter jet came within about 20 feet (7 meters) of the US Navy surveillance aircraft over the Black Sea, calling it "absolutely safe."

    "For our fighter jets, it is an absolutely safe distance, because they are operated by experienced and professional pilots with the flight safety system switched on. They also use artificial intelligence system. In other words, the whole collision risk warning system is in operational mode and there is absolutely no risk," he said.

    interception, flyby, P-8A Poseidon, Sukhoi Su-30, Alexander Zhilin, United States, Russia, Black Sea
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