Russia says it intercepted U.S. and Swedish spy planes over the Baltic Sea — the latest in a series of similar encounters amid heightened tensions between Washington and Moscow, CNN reported.
In a government statement, Russia said one of its Su-27 fighters approached the jets "at a safe distance and identified them as a U.S. Air Force RC-135 spy plane and a Swedish Air Force Gulfstream reconnaissance aircraft."
The RC-135 is a reconnaissance plane used primarily for intelligence collection purposes, CNN reported.
"The Su-27 pilot reported on the identification of foreign reconnaissance aircraft and accompanied them, preventing violations of the Russian airspace borders in compliance with all necessary security measures," the statement said.
The Russians also released what they said was a video of the interception, CNN reported.
"A RC-135 was flying a routine mission in international airspace over the Baltic sea. It was intercepted by a Russian Federation SU-27 aircraft. The intercept was deemed safe," an U.S. official told CNN.
United States formally delivered a diplomatic protest Monday to the Russian government over a near collision between a Russian warship and a U.S. Navy ship in the Philippine Sea last Friday.
And last week, the U.S. 6th Fleet said a Russian aircraft had intercepted a U.S. aircraft flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea three times in less than three hours, The Washington Times reported at the time. The second of the three interactions "was determined to be unsafe" because it was a high-speed pass.
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