The Russian Su-30 fighter raised on May 9 alarm over the Black Sea for the “greeting” of the American reconnaissance aircraft did not take undue risk, but acted in accordance with the established rules for such meetings.
The first to intercept an American airplane was reported by the NBC television station referring to the US Navy spokesman Capt. Pamela Kunze, who said that the Russian Su-27 fighter had become close to the P-8A Poseidon when the American aircraft was carrying out its mission in the international airspace over the Black Sea. It was noted that the Russian fighter flew on May 9 at a distance of seven meters from a reconnaissance aircraft of the US Navy.
By the US Navy encounter that occurred on Tuesday was described as “safe and professional.”
“Distance is only one of many variables considered when defining what is safe and professional,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said. “For aviation interactions, distance, speed, altitude, rate of closure, visibility and other factors impact whether an event is characterized as safe or unsafe, professional or not professional.”
A US defense official told CNN that the Russian aircraft was armed with six air-to-air missiles and that the pilot took photos of the US plane during the encounter.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, “The Russian fighter carried out a ‘greeting’ maneuver. After that, the US surveillance aircraft changed his flying course away from the Russian border.”
The aircraft were operating 65 miles south of the Sea of Azov, which separates Russia and Russian-occupied Crimea.
“The US Navy does, on a normal and routine basis, operate ships and aircraft in the Black Sea consistent with international law,” Kunze said.
The Russian government statement described the Russian jet as an Su-30 while US officials referred to it as a Su-27.
Russia has conducted several flights off the US coast in recent months.
Last week, two Russian bombers, flanked by a pair of fighter jets, were intercepted by stealth US F-22 aircraft off the coast of Alaska.
And during a stretch in April, Russian military aircraft were spotted flying off the coast of Alaska four times in as many days.