PENTAGON - A Russian jet made an "unsafe" intercept of an American reconnaissance plane flying in international airspace over the Black Sea Monday, Pentagon officials said.
The Russian SU-27 jet failed to establish radio contact and made two “really close” passes before engaging afterburners that shook the entire American EP-3 Aries, Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told reporters.
“There’s just absolutely no reason for this type of behavior,” he said.
The American plane was conducting a routine mission in international airspace when the Russian plane “came out of nowhere,” Pahon added.
In a press release, the U.S. Navy said the actions were “irresponsible” and put the pilots and crew “at risk.”
“We expect them [Russian pilots] to behave within international standards set to ensure safety and to prevent incidents,” the Navy added.
The Russian embassy in Washington tweeted that the Russian crew was "preventing a violation of Russian airspace and followed all necessary safety procedures."
The Su-27 jet%27s crew reported identifying the #US EP-3 Aries spy plane and accompanied it, preventing a violation of Russian airspace and followed all necessary safety procedures - @MoD_Russia🇷🇺 pic.twitter.com/eUIl5Xbczf— Russia in USA 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) November 5, 2018
The last time a Russian military aircraft performed an unsafe intercept over the Black Sea was in January, when another SU-27 jet came within two meters of a U.S. Navy surveillance plane.