- The Russian SU-27 and US RC-135 were flying in international airspace
- US European Command called pilot’s actions unsafe and unprofessional
A Russian jet spiraled dangerously close to an American plane over the Baltic Sea earlier this week. The plane, a Russian SU-27, performed a barrel roll over a US RC-135 in international airspace, the US European Command told CNN on Saturday. The Russian jet began its course on the left side of the American reconnaissance plane, then went over it while spiraling on itself and finished on the right side. Russia’s aircraft ‘performed erratic and aggressive maneuvers’ on Thursday during a routine flight, European Command spokesman Danny Hernandez told CNN.
The Russian jet flew just 50 feet away from the American’s plane wing tip, he added.
The American plane didn’t enter Russian territory during the flight, according to Hernandez.
‘The unsafe and unprofessional actions of a single pilot have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries,’ Hernandez told CNN.
A United States Air Force reconnaissance plane was barrel-rolled by a Russian jet over the Baltic Sea during a routine flight in international airspace, U.S. European Command said Saturday.
The US has complained about the incident to the Russian government. Russian military jets buzzed an American destroyer just a few days ago, also in the Baltic Sea.
The guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook reported that pairs of Russian SU-24 attack planes made numerous close-range passes on Monday and Tuesday.
On at least one occasion an SU-24 came within an estimated 30 feet of the Cook in international waters about 70 nautical miles from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, which hosts Russian military forces.
The repeated flights by the SU-24 warplanes were so close, they created wakes in the water, with 11 passes, a US Defense official said.
The planes appeared to be unarmed.
A Russian KA-27 Helix helicopter also made seven passes around the Cook, taking pictures.
The Cook did not respond except to unsuccessfully query the Russian pilots by radio. Secretary of State John Kerry said that under US military rules of engagement, the Cook could have opened fire. The US Defense official said the commanding officer of the Cook believed that Tuesday’s incident was ‘unsafe and unprofessional,’ but cautioned that a formal US military review of the matter was under way.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the US raised its concerns through its military defense representative at the US Embassy in Moscow.