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Russian fighter jet and US surveillance plane fly within 10ft of each other over Black Sea

Published 08/09/2016

A Russian air force SU-27 Flanker aircraft (File photo)
A Russian air force SU-27 Flanker aircraft (File photo)

A Russian fighter jet has flown within 10ft of a US surveillance plane in the latest airborne encounter between the two nations’ forces.

Captain Jeff Davis, a spokesperson for the US Department of Defence, said the Russian Sukhoi Su-27 approached a Poseidon aircraft as it flew over the Black Sea on Wednesday.

Calling the manoeuvre “dangerous and unprofessional”, he said the plane was conducting routine operations in international airspace, but Russia insisted it was approaching its border with no communication.

“We have concerns when there is an unsafe manoeuvre like this,” Capt Davis told reporters.

“These actions have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions, and could result in a miscalculation or accident.”

A US defence official said the Russian pilot approached to within 30ft of the P-8A before closing to just 10ft.

Major General Igor Konashenkov, from the Russian defence ministry, said jets were sent to intercept the surveillance plane after it approached Russia's southern border twice without its transponders turned on.

“After the Russian fighters got close to the spy planes for visual confirmation and to determine their wing numbers, the American aircraft changed course sharply and flew away,” he said.

“The Russia pilots acted in strict accordance with international rules for flight.”

But a spokesperson for the US European Command, Captain Danny Hernandez, insisted the Poseidon had its transponder turned on during the entire flight, following international law for flight safety.

The incident was one of four intercepts of American aircraft by Russian jets on Wednesday, according to the US, with the one considered unsafe lasting around 19 minutes.

Capt Davis said US Navy aircraft and ships routinely come into contact with Russian units in the Black Sea region and most interactions are safe and professional.

In one more dramatic incident earlier this year, Russian jets buzzed over the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea, coming within 30ftof the warship, and in April US officials said another surveillance plane had been confronted in an “unsafe and unprofessional manner".

The RAF has also scrambled fighter jets to intercept Russian planes nearing British airspace several times this year, generating sonic booms heard across swathes of the country.

Relations between Russia and the West have been strained since the Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 and have worsened in the wake of Vladimir Putin’s intervention to support Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Nato has announced it will strengthen its presence in the Black Sea – surrounded by Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine - as one of three fronts against Russia.

Speaking on Wednesday, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said: "We have seen an increased Russian presence in the Black Sea region and we have also seen a substantial military build-up in Crimea by Russia.

"Nato has decided to increase our presence in the Black Sea…we are working on that with our military planners now to decide exactly how that is going to take place."

The Russian government has previously criticised increased Nato deployments and drills in the region as “not conducive to the strengthening of security".

Russian Su-27 jet fighters and MIG 29 jet fighters fly over Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2016.
Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEVKIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
Russian Su-27 jet fighters and MIG 29 jet fighters fly over Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEVKIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
Russian servicewomen march at Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. AFP/Getty Images
Russian servicemen march at Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEVKIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
Russian soldiers march during the Victory Day parade (AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, stands with WWII veterans during the Victory Day military parade marking 71 years after the victory in WWII in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, Monday, May 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEVKIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
Russian servicemen march at Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEVKIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
Russian soldiers march during the Victory Day military parade marking 71 years after the victory in WWII in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, Monday, May 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Russian servicemen march at Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEVKIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
Russian T-14 Armata tanks roll at Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEVKIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
Russian servicewomen march at Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEVKIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
Russian soldiers march during the Victory Day military parade marking 71 years after the victory in WWII in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, Monday, May 9, 2016. In the back is the State Historical Museum. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Russian Su-27 jet fighters and MIG 29 jet fighters fly over Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEVKIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) attends the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEVKIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
A Russian military band performs at Red Square during the Victory Day parade in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEVKIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
Russian soldiers march during the Victory Day military parade marking 71 years after the victory in WWII in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, Monday, May 9, 2016. In the back is the State Historical Museum. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Russian BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles roll at Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / VASILY MAXIMOVVASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images
A Russian Buk-M2 surface-to-air missile system rolls at Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / VASILY MAXIMOVVASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images
An elderly WWII veteran walks with flowers past soldiers of the National Guard of Ukraine, who are lined up to maintain order at the Unknown Soldier monument in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on May 9, 2016, during Victory Day celebrations to commemorate the former Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany. / AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOVGENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images
Kyrgyz servicemen march at the Eternal Flame monument during Victory Day celebrations in Bishkek on May 9, 2016. Kyrgyzstan marks the 71st anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / VYACHESLAV OSELEDKOVYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images
Kyrgyz honour guard soldiers lay a wreath at the Eternal Flame monument during Victory Day celebrations in Bishkek on May 9, 2016. Kyrgyzstan marks the 71st anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / VYACHESLAV OSELEDKOVYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images
Ukrainian activists, surrounded by riot police hold nationalists flag and shout slogans next to the Unknown Soldier monument in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on May 9, 2014 during celebration of the Victory Day. / AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOVGENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images
Ukrainian activists, surrounded by riot police hold nationalists flag and shout slogans next to the Unknown Soldier monument in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on May 9, 2014 during celebration of the Victory Day. / AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOVGENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images
Crimea's Chief Prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya (C) carries an icon with a portrait of the last Russian tsar Nicholas II as she takes part in the Immortal Regiment march during the Victory Day celebrations in Simferopol, Crimea, on May 9, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Max VetrovMAX VETROV/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOT - Russian servicemen march at Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEVKIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
Members of a military band take a selfie picture at the Unknown Soldier Tomb memorial in Tbilisi on May 9, 2016, during Victory Day celebrations. Georgia and and ex-Soviet republics mark the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / Vano ShlamovVANO SHLAMOV/AFP/Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin (3rd L) and Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev (2nd L) attend the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEVKIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
Veterans and other people attend festivities as Latvia's large Russian minority gathered to mark the 71st anniversary of the end of the Second World War during Victory Day celebrations at the Soviet Victory Monument in Riga, Latvia, on May 9, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Ilmars ZnotinsILMARS ZNOTINS/AFP/Getty Images
Veterans and other people attend festivities as Latvia's large Russian minority gathered to mark the 71st anniversary of the end of the Second World War during Victory Day celebrations at the Soviet Victory Monument in Riga, Latvia, on May 9, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Ilmars ZnotinsILMARS ZNOTINS/AFP/Getty Images
An old photograph sticks between flowers laid down at the Soviet Victory Monument in Riga on May 9, 2016, as Latvia's large Russian minority gathered to mark the 71st anniversary of the end of the Second World War during Victory Day celebrations. / AFP PHOTO / Ilmars ZnotinsILMARS ZNOTINS/AFP/Getty Images
Russian servicemen march at Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / VASILY MAXIMOVVASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images
Veterans and other people attend festivities as Latvia's large Russian minority gathered to mark the 71st anniversary of the end of the Second World War during Victory Day celebrations at the Soviet Victory Monument in Riga, Latvia, on May 9, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Ilmars ZnotinsILMARS ZNOTINS/AFP/Getty Images
A veteran attends festivities as Latvia's large Russian minority gathered to mark the 71st anniversary of the end of the Second World War during Victory Day celebrations at the Soviet Victory Monument in Riga, Latvia, on May 9, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Ilmars ZnotinsILMARS ZNOTINS/AFP/Getty Images
Russian military planes fly over Red Square during the Victory Day military parade marking 71 years after the victory in WWII in Moscow, Russia, Monday, May 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Tupolev Tu-22M3 Backfire strategic bombers fly over Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / VASILY MAXIMOVVASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images
Russian T-90A tanks roll at Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / VASILY MAXIMOVVASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images
Russian Su-25 assault aircrafts release smoke in the colours of the Russian flag while flying over Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / VASILY MAXIMOVVASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images
Russian servicemen take part in the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEVKIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
World War Two veterans wait before watching the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEVKIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
Russian servicemen march at Red Square before the start of the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2016. Russia marks the 71st anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEVKIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
A boy with toy-mashinegun holds a flag of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic during the Victory Day parade in Donetsk on May 9, 2016. Tanks and rocket systems rolled through the rebel bastion of Donetsk in east Ukraine on May 9 as pro-Russian insurgents celebrated the 71th anniversary of the Soviet win over Nazi Germany in WWII. Monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) warned ahead of the parade that a display of military equipment would violate the 2015 agreement and pose a "threat to people". / AFP PHOTO / Aleksey FilippovALEKSEY FILIPPOV/AFP/Getty Images
People attend the Victory Day parade of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic in Donetsk on May 9, 2016. Tanks and rocket systems rolled through the rebel bastion of Donetsk in east Ukraine on May 9 as pro-Russian insurgents celebrated the 71th anniversary of the Soviet win over Nazi Germany in WWII. Monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) warned ahead of the parade that a display of military equipment would violate the 2015 agreement and pose a "threat to people". / AFP PHOTO / Aleksey FilippovALEKSEY FILIPPOV/AFP/Getty Images
People take part in the Immortal Regiment march during the Victory Day parade of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic in Donetsk on May 9, 2016. Tanks and rocket systems rolled through the rebel bastion of Donetsk in east Ukraine on May 9 as pro-Russian insurgents celebrated the 71th anniversary of the Soviet win over Nazi Germany in WWII. Monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) warned ahead of the parade that a display of military equipment would violate the 2015 agreement and pose a "threat to people". / AFP PHOTO / Aleksey FilippovALEKSEY FILIPPOV/AFP/Getty Images
Grad rocket launchers of pro-Russian separatists of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic ride during the Victory Day parade in Donetsk on May 9, 2016. Tanks and rocket systems rolled through the rebel bastion of Donetsk in east Ukraine on May 9 as pro-Russian insurgents celebrated the 71th anniversary of the Soviet win over Nazi Germany in WWII. Monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) warned ahead of the parade that a display of military equipment would violate the 2015 agreement and pose a "threat to people". / AFP PHOTO / Aleksey FilippovALEKSEY FILIPPOV/AFP/Getty Images
Pro-Russian separatists of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic march during the Victory Day parade in Donetsk on May 9, 2016. Tanks and rocket systems rolled through the rebel bastion of Donetsk in east Ukraine on May 9 as pro-Russian insurgents celebrated the 71th anniversary of the Soviet win over Nazi Germany in WWII. Monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) warned ahead of the parade that a display of military equipment would violate the 2015 agreement and pose a "threat to people". / AFP PHOTO / Aleksey FilippovALEKSEY FILIPPOV/AFP/Getty Images
Tanks of Pro-Russian separatists of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic ride during the Victory Day parade in Donetsk on May 9, 2016. Tanks and rocket systems rolled through the rebel bastion of Donetsk in east Ukraine on May 9 as pro-Russian insurgents celebrated the 71th anniversary of the Soviet win over Nazi Germany in WWII. Monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) warned ahead of the parade that a display of military equipment would violate the 2015 agreement and pose a "threat to people". / AFP PHOTO / Aleksey FilippovALEKSEY FILIPPOV/AFP/Getty Images
Pro-Russian separatists of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic sit atop an APC during the Victory Day parade in Donetsk on May 9, 2016. Tanks and rocket systems rolled through the rebel bastion of Donetsk in east Ukraine on May 9 as pro-Russian insurgents celebrated the 71th anniversary of the Soviet win over Nazi Germany in WWII. Monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) warned ahead of the parade that a display of military equipment would violate the 2015 agreement and pose a "threat to people". / AFP PHOTO / Aleksey FilippovALEKSEY FILIPPOV/AFP/Getty Images
A woman pushes a go-cart next to a Grad rocket launcher of pro-Russian separatists of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic during the Victory Day parade in Donetsk on May 9, 2016. Tanks and rocket systems rolled through the rebel bastion of Donetsk in east Ukraine on May 9 as pro-Russian insurgents celebrated the 71th anniversary of the Soviet win over Nazi Germany in WWII. Monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) warned ahead of the parade that a display of military equipment would violate the 2015 agreement and pose a "threat to people". / AFP PHOTO / Aleksey FilippovALEKSEY FILIPPOV/AFP/Getty Images
Grad rocket launchers of pro-Russian separatists of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic ride during the Victory Day parade in Donetsk on May 9, 2016. Tanks and rocket systems rolled through the rebel bastion of Donetsk in east Ukraine on May 9 as pro-Russian insurgents celebrated the 71th anniversary of the Soviet win over Nazi Germany in WWII. Monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) warned ahead of the parade that a display of military equipment would violate the 2015 agreement and pose a "threat to people". / AFP PHOTO / Aleksey FilippovALEKSEY FILIPPOV/AFP/Getty Images
An elderly WWII veteran and a girl walk with flowers past soldiers of the National Guard of Ukraine, who are lined up to maintain order at the Unknown Soldier monument in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on May 9, 2016, during Victory Day celebrations to commemorate the former Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOVGENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images
A Chechen boy dressed in a WWII era Soviet uniform, marches with a red flag, with a sign reading May 9, during Victory Day celebrations in Chechnya's provincial capital Grozny, Russia, Monday, May 9, 2016. Russia celebrates the 71st anniversary of the victory over the Nazi Germany in the World War II on Monday. (AP Photo/Musa Sadulayev)
A woman dressed in a Soviet military uniform holds placards in front of the soldiers of the National Guard of Ukraine, who are lined up to maintain order in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on May 9, 2016, during Victory Day celebrations to commemorate the former Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOVGENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images
People hold portraits of their relatives and participants during the Immortal Regiment march in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on May 9, 2016, during Victory Day celebrations to commemorate the former Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOVGENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images
People hold portraits of their relatives and participants during the Immortal Regiment march in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on May 9, 2016, during Victory Day celebrations to commemorate the former Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOVGENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images
A girl wearing a bow in the colors of the Russian flag attends the Immortal Regiment march in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on May 9, 2016, during Victory Day celebrations to commemorate the former Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. / AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOVGENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images

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