Russia had to scramble Crimea-based Su-27 fighter jets on Wednesday to intercept US spy planes making attempts to approach the Russian airspace over the Black Sea while flying with switched-off transponders, the Defense Ministry said.
"On September 7, 2016, US Navy P8 Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft made two attempts to approach the Russian airspace over the Black Sea while flying with switched-off transponders. Su-27 fighter jets were scrambled from the Belbek airbase [in Crimea]," ministry's spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.
"The Russian pilots performed in strict adherence to international flight regulations," Konashenkov stressed.
The spokesman added that it was not the first attempt by NATO planes to approach the Russian airspace to spy after the 'Caucasus-2016' strategic exercises, which will be held in September on the territory of Russia's Southern Military District.