A Russian jet has performed an ‘aggressive’ barrel roll over a US plane on a reconnaissance mission for the second time in a month.
The Russian aircraft, a SU-27, performed the manoeuvre in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, approaching the US aircraft and flying over the top of it to the other side, at a distance of around 25 feet, US Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Michelle L. Baldanza told CNN.
"The SU-27 intercepted the US aircraft flying a routine route at high rate of speed from the side then proceeded to perform an aggressive manoeuvre that posed a threat to the safety of the U.S. aircrew in the RC-135," Baldanza said.
But Russia defended the 29 April actions of its air force, which come amid rising tensions between the two countries.
"All flights of Russian planes are conducted in accordance with international regulations on the use of airspace," the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement.
"The US Air Force has two solutions: either not to fly near our borders or to turn the transponder on for identification."
"We are already starting to get used to the insults of the Pentagon regarding alleged 'unprofessional' manoeuvres when our fighters intercept US spy planes at the Russian border," the ministry added.
It is the second ‘barrel roll’ to be performed over a US plane by a Russian jet in the space of a month, with a similar incident occurring on 16 April, when a Russian aircraft approached the US plane over the Baltic Sea and was described as behaving erratically before rolling over the top of the plane.
Several days prior to the first ‘barrel rolling’ incident, two Russian warplanes repeatedly buzzed a US Navy destroyer, passing so close to the ship they created waves in the water around it, in what American officials described as a ‘simulated attack’.