North Atlantic Treaty Organisation fighter jet nears Russian defence minister's plane

Posted June 22, 2017

A Russian SU-27 fighter was due to intercept an American C-135 spy plane in the Baltic region yesterday, in another of several such incidents involving North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and Russian aircraft registered in recent months.

The plane carrying the Russian defense minister on board was escorted by Su-27 fleet fighters.

Both Swedish and Danish jet fighters were scrambled in response to the incident which reportedly took place in global airspace covered by Swedish air traffic control.

A North Atlantic Treaty Organisation F-16 fighter jet has tried to approach the Russian defence minister's plane above the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea.

The Shahed 129 drone was "showing hostile intent" to USA coalition forces on the ground, according to a US defense official. "We assess the Russian pilots' behaviour as safe and professional".

The Russian SU-27 fighter aircraft reportedly came up alongside the U.S. RC-135 and began flying in an "provocative" and "erratic" manner, U.S. officials said. The Russian's however accused the US aircraft of turning abruptly and causing the risky pass. Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis accused the Russian pilot of flying too fast and having "poor control" over his jet.

Sergei Shoigu, speaking on a trip to Russia's westernmost Kaliningrad region, pointed at the alliance's exercise in the Baltics as an example of NATO's growing presence in the area.

A defense official familiar with the incident said the Russian aircraft came alongside the RC-135 and made some unpredictable and erratic maneuvers, at one point flying underneath the reconnaissance aircraft.

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Russian su-27 tried to provoke reconnaissance aircraft from the United States.

The latest incidents come amid renewed tensions between the United States and Russian Federation sparked by the downing of a Syrian jet by the United States after it targeted US -allied rebels.

The RIA news agency reported that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation aircraft had also tracked Shoigu's plane when he returned after his meeting later on Wednesday, albeit at a greater distance.

According to a report by FoxNews.com, the advanced Russian fighter armed with air-to-air missiles buzzed an Air Force RC-135.

The U.S. Air Force did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Earlier this month, Russian Federation intercepted a nuclear-capable U.S. B-52 bomber Moscow claims was nearing its border.

"The Russian plane's actions were out of the ordinary.in terms of the distance between the planes which was at certain times very small", the Swedish military said in a statement.