23:46 GMT27 November 2020
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    According to a statement from the US 6th Fleet, a Russian SU-35 intercepted an American P-8A Poseidon at least three times on 4 June, claiming that one of the interactions was "unsafe" and put the US crew at risk.

    "On June 4, 2019, a U.S. P-8A Poseidon aircraft flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea was intercepted by a Russian SU-35 three times over the course of 175 minutes. The first and third interaction were deemed safe. The second interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the SU-35 conducting a high speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, which put our pilots and crew at risk. The crew of the P-8A reported wake turbulence following the second interaction. The duration of the intercept was approximately 28 minutes", the statement said.

    READ MORE: Ukrainian and UK Ships Hold Joint Drills in Black Sea

    According to the US 6th fleet, "the U.S. aircraft was operating consistent with international law and did not provoke this Russian activity". The statement also made reference to the 1972 Agreement for the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas (INCSEA), which promotes maritime navigation and flight safety on or over international waterways.

    "While the Russian aircraft was operating in international airspace, this interaction was irresponsible. We expect them to behave within international standards set to ensure safety and prevent incidents [..] Unsafe actions‎ increase the risk of miscalculations and the potential for midair collisions". the statement said.

    The Russian military has not commented on the issue yet.

    Meanwhile, similar incidents have reportedly increased in recent years amid NATO military buildup near Russia’s borders.

    READ MORE: Russia Will React ‘Accordingly’ to NATO Activity in Black Sea – Deputy FM

    In January, the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement that it scrambled a Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet to intercept a US P-8A over the Baltic Sea. The ministry said Russian airspace control systems discovered an air target approaching Russia's state border over the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea.

    The P-8A Poseidon is a long-range multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations. It features a bomb bay and pylons for weapons and performs anti-submarine, anti-surface manoeuvres, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

    READ MORE: US Navy Issues $2.4 Billion Contract for P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft

    interception, spy plane, Su-35, US 6th Fleet, Mediterranean Sea
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