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Russian Su-27 intercepts U.S. RC-135 intel plane over Baltic Sea

The Russian Defense Ministry published a short video of the interception and escort taken from the cockpit of an Su-27 fighter aircraft.

By
Allen Cone

March 8 (UPI) -- The Russian military announced a Su-27 fighter jet intercepted and escorted a U.S. RC-135 spy plane over the Baltic Sea in international waters.

The date of the incident wasn't revealed but the Russian Defense Ministry on Thursday published a short video of the encounter from the Su-27 cockpit.

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The Russian warplane safely approaches from behind and chases the U.S. reconnaissance plane during the video.

In a news release Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry said the Su-27 detected the plane approaching the state border of the Russian Federation over the "neutral waters of the Baltic Sea." The crew "approached a safe distance to the air object," according to the release.

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After the U.S. jet flew away, the Su-27 returned to its undisclosed home field.

Russia has said U.S. and its NATO allies' buildup along its borders in recent years threatens security, and flybys and encounters between Russian and allied aircraft have increased during that time.

The Pentagon has not released a statement on the latest incident.

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In 2017, a Russian fighter closed to within 5 feet of a RC-135 approximately 25 miles northwest of Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania.

"The vast majority of interactions we have, intercepts that occur when we fly and that are intercepted by the Russians are safe. This is an exception, not the norm, but we were again operating in international airspace and did nothing to provoke," U.S. Navy spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis said after the 2017 incident.

In January, the Russian military said that a Su-27 fighter jet was scrambled to identify and intercept a Swedish reconnaissance aircraft.

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The Su-27 is a twin-engine fighter aircraft designed by Sukhoi that entered the Soviet Air Forces in 1985 in response to the U.S. F-15 Eagle.

The first RC-135 dates to 1962 with the latest model RC-135V/W Rivet Joint, which can travel 500-plus miles per hour. The U.S. Air Force has 17 of the reconnaissance aircraft, which are permanently based at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., according to the U.S. Air Force.

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