US, Russia in Row over Black Sea Interception

Russia | September 8, 2016, Thursday // 10:53|  views

A handout image of a Russian Su-27 Flanker fighter. File photo, EPA/BGNES

Moscow and Washington have traded mutual accusations over an incident with aircraft over the Black Sea.

The Pentagon late on Wednesday blamed the Russian Air Force for what it described as a "provocation", with a Su-27 fighter jet having intercepted a US Navy surveillance aircraft over the Black Sea, flying only 3 km from the aircraft.

USA Today quotes Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt Jeff Davis as calling the development an "unsafe close-range intercept of a Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft while it conducted routine operations in international airspace over the Black Sea."

Moscow, however, maintains its fighter jets were scrambled after the P-8A had approached the Russian Black Sea shore with its transponders turned off, disabling identification of the aircraft.

"Russian pilots acted in strict adherence to international rules for conducting flights," the Russian Defense Ministry's official representative, Igor Konashenkov, is quoted by TASS as saying.  

Russia is currently conducting naval drills in both the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea that are to go on through Saturday.

There have been several similar incidents involving US and Russian aircraft over the Black Sea since 2016 began.

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Tags: Igor Konashenkov, Pentagon, Russia


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