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U.S., Russia meet to discuss intercepts at air and sea

Leaders of the U.S. and Russian Navies met Tuesday to discuss intercepts between the two countries at air and sea. Photo via U.S. Navy/Twitter
Leaders of the U.S. and Russian Navies met Tuesday to discuss intercepts between the two countries at air and sea. Photo via U.S. Navy/Twitter

May 25 (UPI) -- Leaders of the U.S. and Russian navies met in Moscow Tuesday to discuss air-to-air intercepts in international airspace and interactions between the two nations' ships, the Navy said.

The Prevention of Incidents On and Over the Waters Outside the Limits of the Territorial Sea (INCSEA) is an annual event held to discuss the Incidents at Sea Agreement the two countries signed in 1972.

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That agreement "codified the mutual interest of both sides in promoting safety of navigation and safety of flight when operating on and over international waters," and specified annual consultations should be held to review compliance with the agreement, said a press release issued by the Navy Tuesday.

Last year's discussion was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but in July 2019 the United States hosted the event in Washington, D.C.

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The release did not offer details on what was discussed at this year's meeting, but the two years since the last consultation have seen a number of intercepts -- in the air and at sea -- involving both countries' militaries.

Last month, NATO announced that two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack bombers and an A-50 Mainstay airborne warning plane, were intercepted over the Baltic Sea by NATO aircraft, and in March NATO fighter jets intercepted six different groups of Russian military aircraft as they approached NATO airspace.

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The two countries have also engaged in several recent maritime confrontations, like last November when Russia's defense ministry said it caught the U.S. Navy destroyer USS John McCain in contested waters in the Sea of Japan and chased the vessel off.

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