Russian jet intercepts U.S. Navy aircraft over the Mediterranean: officials

The Navy said Wednesday that three US P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft flying over the Mediterranean were subject to “unprofessional interception” from Russian military aircraft last weekend.

“We can confirm that three U.S. Navy P-8A aircraft experienced unprofessional interception by Russian aircraft during the last weekend,” Defense Secretary Captain Mike Kafka said in a statement Wednesday. Said. “At the time of these interceptions, US flight attendants were flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean. We raised concerns to Russian authorities through diplomatic routes.”

“No one was injured, but such interactions can lead to miscalculations and mistakes with more dangerous consequences,” Kafka said.

“The United States will continue to operate safely, professionally and consistently in compliance with international law in the high seas and airspace. We expect Russia to do the same,” Kafka said.

The Navy did not reveal how close the Russian aircraft flew. Authorities also did not elaborate on what aircraft flew next to the P-8A Poseidon, a maritime patrol aircraft used primarily for surveillance.

But a Pentagon spokesperson said The Wall Street Journal The incident involved a Su-35 fighter.

Epoch Times Photo
The US Navy’s Boeing P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol will participate in the Malta International Air Show on September 23, 2017 at SmartCity Malta, on the outskirts of Kalkara, Malta. (Reuters / Darinza Mittrupi / File photo)

“The results can be catastrophic. Russians know that our default settings are professional and disciplined, so we encourage pilots to do this,” he said. Vice Admiral Ben Hodges told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. “They are trying to reestablish where the fence line is.”

In April 2020, US officials reported an incident in which a Russian fighter intercepted the P-8A over the Mediterranean Sea. Later that year, Navy officials said the Su-35 intercepted another P-8A at sea in an incident that lasted more than an hour.

The Navy’s Sixth Fleet said the incident was “unsafe and unprofessional because Russian pilots approached each wing of the P-8A at the same time.”

Earlier, Russian authorities denied conducting unsafe interception of US military aircraft.

“All flights by Russian aircraft were carried out in accordance with international regulations on the use of airspace,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in 2019 after a similar incident was reported by US authorities.

In recent weeks, the United States and NATO have accused Moscow of deploying more than 100,000 troops, tanks, fighters and heavy artillery along its border with Ukraine. Some of the White House’s top executives have repeatedly claimed that Russia will invade in the near future, but such claims have been categorically denied by the Kremlin.

A spokesperson for Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday ridiculed the Western media and elected officials who suggested that Moscow would invade Ukraine on Wednesday morning.

“Please announce the schedule for next year’s invasion. I want to plan a vacation,” he said. According to the state media, spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on social media.

The Epoch Times contacted the Russian Embassy in Washington for comment.

Jack phillips


Jack Phillips is the latest news reporter for The Epoch Times, based in New York.

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