Russia says NATO F-16 approached defense minister's plane

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  June 21, 2017 at 8:04 AM
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June 21 (UPI) -- Russia has released a video purportedly showing a NATO F-16 fighter jet approaching a plane carrying Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu before being warded off by a Su-27.

The incident occurred Wednesday above the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea, the Russian Defense Ministry said. Shoigu's plane was en route to the western Russian city of Kaliningrad for a meeting of Russia's Board of the Ministry of Defense.

In the video, a person within Shoigu's plane films what appears to be an F-16 at a close distance. Not long after, a Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet approaches the F-16 briefly before the F-16 directs itself away from the Russian aircraft and the Su-27 moves back to its formation.

The Su-27 displayed its weapons to the F-16, journalists aboard Shoigu's plane reported.

Shoigu traveled to Kaliningrad to speak about NATO's activities in the region. He said the situation in Russia's western borders "tends to deteriorate" because of NATO.

Shoigu suggested NATO's activities has led Russia to increase its military capacity in response.

"This is due to the increased military activity of NATO countries in eastern Europe," Shoigu said during an address. "These unjustified actions of our western colleagues lead to the destruction of the security system in the world. They increase mutual distrust and force us to apply response measures, primarily in the western strategic direction."

"The North Atlantic alliance is increasing its presence in the Baltic countries. The infrastructure of their seaports, airfields and other military facilities is improving," Russia's Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Shoigu also said "some countries" are using "political, information and economic pressure," as well as "military force," as tools "for achieving geopolitical goals" -- likely a reference to the United States, and Washington's sanctions on Russia and military operations in support of NATO.

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