A Russian fighter jet flew just five feet from a U.S. spy plane on Monday over the Baltic Sea.
A U.S. official called the close encounter “unsafe,” especially since the Russian Su-27 fighter jet was armed and flew “erratically” close to the U.S. Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft, CNN reported.
“Due to the high rate of closure speed and poor control of the (Russian) aircraft during the intercept, this interaction was determined to be unsafe,” said Meghan Henderson, a spokesperson for European Command, CNN reported.
This comes after a U.S. Navy jet shot down a Syrian government warplane after it was found to be “targeting U.S.-aligned fighters,” Fox News noted.
The downing of the Syrian jet sparked a statement from the Russian Defense Ministry that from now on any U.S. aircrafts operating west of the Euphrates River in Syria would be considered “air targets.”
There’s been an increasing tension between the U.S. and Russia in Syria, as Russia has become allies with Syrian President Bahsar al-Assad while the U.S. has developed relationships with groups that are opposed to the Assad regime, CNN noted.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked on Monday about the shoot-down of the Syrian fighter jet. He said the U.S. plans to “keep an open line of communication” with both Russia and Syria in order to “de-escalate” the situation in Syria.
However, he added that the country will be ready to defend itself, if necessary.
“The escalation of hostilities among all of the factions that are operating there doesn’t help anybody,” he said. “And so making sure that people understand while we want to de-escalate the situation there, that we have to understand that we will always preserve the right of self-defense.”
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