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WASHINGTON, April 13. /TASS/. The actions by the Russian pilot of a Su-27 (Flanker) fighter jet that flew close to a US reconnaissance aircraft over the Baltic Sea may deteriorate the US-Russia relations, Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright said on Sunday in an interpretation of the air accident rejected by Russia’s Defense Ministry.
A US RC-135U reconnaissance plane was intercepted by Russia’s Su-27 fighter during a flight in international air space close to the Russian borders on April 7. The US claimed that the Russian fighter jet had come to a dangerously close distance of 6 meters. The Pentagon has called the intercept "unsafe and unprofessional."
However, spokesman for Russia’s Defense Ministry, Maj.-Gen Igor Konashenkov said that "no extraordinary situations emerged" when the Russian fighter jet flew around the US reconnaissance plane.
The spokesman said "the RC-135U plane of the US Air Force was making a flight to the Russian borders with its transponder turned off - a device, which our Pentagon colleagues have liked to talk about lately."
"As for assessing the professionalism of our pilots, this is the competence of exclusively the Russian command. Moreover, US reconnaissance planes may make even ‘ordinary" flights only near the US borders," the Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman said.