MOSCOW, February 1./TASS/. The Russian Foreign Ministry has commented on the incident in which Russia’s Sukhoi-27 jet on January 29 intercepted a US plane moving towards the Russian border, saying the US reaction is a new attempt to accuse Russia of aggressive moves and stir up Russophobic sentiment in media.
"We have paid attention to continuing attempts by American partners to make a noise about what is broadly speaking routine incidents of mutual escorting," the ministry said in a commentary on Thursday. "We see it as an intention to stir up Russophobic moods in media, accuse Russia of aggressive moves. We just want to note that this practice is scarcely in line with a bid to settle emerging problems in a civilized manner," the commentary said.
It said Russia had repeatedly suggested its US partners to specify provisions of the Agreement on the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas. "However, each time the American side dodged a professional dialogue. We urge the American colleagues to get down to the settlement of existing concerns at the negotiating table," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Incident over the Black Sea
According to earlier reports, Russia’s Sukhoi-27 jet on January 29 intercepted a US plane EP-3E Aries II, which was moving towards Russia’s border over the Black Sea. Throughout the incident the Russian jet observed all safety rules. The Defense Ministry said when the US surveillance plane set course away from the Russian border, the Sukhoi-27 jet returned to the base.
The US Navy claimed that the interception was unsafe, because the Sukhoi-27 approached the EP-3 as close as five feet (about 1.5 meters) and then crossed the plane’s flight path, after which the EP-3 had to overcome turbulence created by the Sukhoi-27’s engines. The US side said the interception lasted for two hours and 40 minutes. The US Navy made public several videos claiming they showed Russia’s Sukhoi-27 flying next to its EP-3 plane over the Black Sea.
"The Russian fighter’s maneuvers on January 29 were standard and absolutely legal and safe for the US surveillance plane EP-3E," the Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday.
"The Aerospace Force will continue to maintain reliable protection of Russia’s airspace. If the awareness of this is a reason for US air pilots to feel depression or succumb to phobias, we advise the US side to exclude the routes of such flights near Russian borders in the future or return to the negotiating table and agree on their rules," the Defense Ministry said about the Pentagon’s allegations.