NEW YORK, April 17 /TASS/. A Russian Su-27 jet has intercepted a United States Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance plane over the Baltic Sea, the CNN reported on Saturday.
The incident occurred on Thursday, April 14, when the Su-27 "flew within 50 feet of the US aircraft’s wing tip," CNN said citing the words of Danny Hernandez, a spokesman for the US European Command. According to him, the U.S. plane was over international waters and did not violate the Russian airspace.
"The unsafe and unprofessional actions of a single pilot have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries," the CNN quoted Hernandez as saying.
"This encounter comes just days after the U.S. Embassy in Moscow issued formal concerns with the Russian government over an incident in which Russian fighter jets flew very close to the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea this week," Hernandez said.
On April 14, US Secretary of State John Kerry described the behavior of Su-24 pilots as irresponsible and provocative.
Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said that his ministry did not understand the reason for such a painful reaction of the American colleagues. "The principle of freedom of navigation for the US destroyer, which is staying in close proximity to a Russian naval base in the Baltic Sea, does at all not cancel the principle of freedom of flight for Russian aircraft," the official said.
Konashenkov also said that Russia’s Sukhoi Su-24 fighters, having discovered a US destroyer in the Baltic Sea, turned away from the vessel observing all safety measures.
"On April 13, the crews of the Su-24 aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces were performing scheduled training flights over neutral waters of the Baltic Sea. The Russian planes’ flight route passed through the area where the USS Donald Cook destroyer was sailing, at a distance some 70 km from the Russian naval base," Konashenkov said. "Spotting the ship within the visibility zone, the Russian pilots turned their aircraft away from the vessel fully observing the safety measures," he said.
According to him, "all flights of aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces are performed strictly in accordance with the international regulations on the use of airspace over neutral waters."