Russian fighter intercept of US recon plane deemed 'unsafe'

BERLIN - The U.S. military says a Russian fighter flew within 50 feet of a U.S. Navy reconnaissance jet over the Black Sea with full afterburners on, causing violent turbulence that knocked the American plane into a 15-degree roll.

U.S. European Command Spokesman Juan Martinez said Tuesday the manoeuvr by the Russian Su-30 jet in front of the Navy P-8A on Saturday is being treated as an "unsafe intercept."

Martinez said the P-8A was "conducting a routine operation in international airspace" at the time of the intercept.

Intercepts occur regularly but it is the first encounter reported as unsafe since June when Stuttgart-based EUCOM released dramatic photos of a Russian jet coming so close to a U.S. plane over the Baltic Sea that the Russian pilot could be seen in the cockpit.


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