An F/A-18F Super Hornet takes off from the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman in the North Atlantic last year. File Photo by Mass Communication Spec. Seaman Joseph A.D. Phillips/U.S. Navy
June 5 (UPI) -- The Russian Defense Ministry on Wednesday denied U.S. accusations that one of its jets flew unsafely near an American plane over the Mediterranean Sea.
The Navy 6th Fleet reported that a U.S. P-8A Poseidon aircraft was flying in international airspace Tuesday when it was intercepted three times by a Russian SU-35 over a 175-minute period. While the first and third passes were deemed safe, Navy officials said the second encounter was not.
"The second interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the SU-35 conducting a high-speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, which put our pilots and crew at risk," the 6th Fleet statement said.
"The crew of the P-8A reported wake turbulence following the second interaction. The duration of the intercept was approximately 28 minutes. While the Russian aircraft was operating in international airspace, this interaction was irresponsible. We expect them to behave within international standards set to ensure safety and to prevent incidents," the statement continued.
The Russian defense statement said its airspace control system at the Hmeymim Air Base detected aircraft approaching its Tartus naval facility and the SU-35 was sent to the area to identify the aircraft.
"All flights by Russian aircraft were conducted in accordance with international rules for the use of airspace," the Russian defense ministry told reporters. "There were no complaints from the American aviation flight de-confliction center in Syria addressed to the Russian command."
Last month, U.S. military twice intercepted Russian military jets near the Alaska coast. North American Aerospace Defense Command said then that American pilots intercepted Russian TU-95 bombers and SU-35 fighter jets on May 21.
The day before, U.S. aircraft intercepted six Russian military planes over the Alaskan coast.