MOSCOW, January 31. /TASS/. Spy planes from Britain, Italy and the US were plying the skies near Crimea at least 2 hours before an air attack on the peninsula, as data available from the Flightradar24.com portal indicates.
Earlier on Wednesday, Sevastopol Governor Mikhail Razvozhayev said that air defense systems had been alerted in the city. At least one air target was destroyed. The wreckage fell on a vacant plot of land near Lyubimovka.
Two hours before the air alert a US Navy P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine aircraft, UK Air Force RC-135W Rivet Joint electronic reconnaissance aircraft, and E-550A (based on Gulfstream G550) long-range radar detection aircraft of the Italian Air Force flew over Romania near the Black Sea coast. A little earlier, a US RQ-4B Global Hawk strategic reconnaissance drone was spotted in the area.
The flight paths of the drone and the Poseidon began near the US naval airbase Sigonella in Sicily. The British plane, according to Flightradar, made U-turn toward the UK. The Italian reconnaissance aircraft is believed to have flown to the Black Sea from central mainland Italy.
On January 21, a plane belonging to the US Navy was also cruising about 250 kilometers off the western coast of Crimea in the airspace over Romania's Black Sea coast near the border with Ukraine, when the Russian Defense Ministry reported the interception of Ukrainian air missiles over the Black Sea off the peninsula's western coast. The flight path of the US plane also began in Sicily near the US naval airbase Sigonella.