Russian jet twice buzzes US plane in close call over Black Sea

Russian jet twice buzzes US plane in close call over Black Sea

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A U.S. Navy EP-3E Aries II aircraft flying in international airspace over the Black Sea was intercepted by a Russian Sukhoi Su-27 in January. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

WASHINGTON — A Russian fighter twice buzzed a U.S. aircraft flying over the Black Sea, at one point turning on its afterburners to cause dangerous air turbulence, Pentagon officials said.

“They put our aircraft and our crew in danger,” Eric Pahon, a Pentagon spokesperson, told reporters. “It was unsafe.”

The incident occurred Monday over international air space in the Black Sea, Pahon said. The Russian SU-27 jet approached from off the right wing side, did not make radio contact, and buzzed in front of the U.S. EP-3 aircraft at a high speed, Pahon said.

The Russian plane then returned for a second pass and departed as it turned off its afterburners, he said.

“They buzzed us, they got a little too close,” he said. “There is absolutely no reason for this type of behavior.”

Pahon could not estimate how close the Russian aircraft came to the U.S. Navy aircraft. Nor could the Navy, which later issued a statement on the incident. The Navy EP-3 was flying out of Souda Bay, Greece, Pahon said.

The last buzzings by a Russian jet were in January and May, he said. Russian aircraft have not bothered the ongoing NATO exercise in Norway and the adjacent regions.

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