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Russian Jet Barrel-Rolls Over United States Air Force Recon Plane

Image: Russian Jet Barrel-Rolls Over United States Air Force Recon Plane
(US Navy)

By    |   Monday, 18 Apr 2016 09:19 AM

A Russian fighter jet barrel-rolled over a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance plane over the Baltic Sea on Thursday, coming within 50 feet of the plane’s wingtip.

"The unsafe and unprofessional actions of a single pilot have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries," said Danny Hernandez, a spokesman for U.S. European Command, according to CNN. He called the maneuvers “erratic and aggressive.”
 
Russia’s Defense Ministry disputed the account, saying the SU-27 fighter jet "performed strictly in accordance with the international regulations on the use of airspace."

Russian spokesman Gen. Igor Konashenkov said the fighter jet was dispatched because an unknown target was seen approaching the Russian border at high speed.

After visual contact, the U.S. plane changed its course without incident. Hernandez said the U.S. RC-135 was operating in international airspace and never entered Russian territory.

The encounter is the latest in a string of incidents that have raised serious safety concerns, Hernandez said, according to the Washington Free Beacon. The U.S. is protesting the encounters to the Russian government.

Two days earlier, two Russian bombers made close passes over the U.S. guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea, coming within 30 feet of the ship in what U.S. officials described as a simulated Russian aerial assault that nearly caused a shootout.

In January, a Russian jet came within 20 feet of an RC-135 over the Black Sea.

“It is a major escalation of Russian aggressiveness although it fits into a pattern of Russian activity that goes back years,” Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon strategic forces analyst who specializes in Russian affairs, told the Free Beacon.

The U.S. has expanded its presence in Eastern Europe in the wake of Russia’s 2014 intervention in Ukraine while Russia has warned of countermeasures, Stars and Stripes reported.

Twitter users shared mixed reactions to the encounter.







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A Russian fighter jet barrel-rolled over a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance plane over the Baltic Sea on Thursday, coming within 50 feet of the plane’s wingtip.
russian, jet, barrel rolls, united states, air force
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2016-19-18
Monday, 18 Apr 2016 09:19 AM
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