U.S. 6th Fleet slammed Russia for an “unsafe” intercept of a Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft in international airspace above the Mediterranean Sea recently.
U.S. 6th Fleet posted video of the encounter on Twitter over the weekend (embedded below). The video is shot from the P-8 and shows a jet briefly coming extremely close to the aircraft.
“The Russian aircraft got within 25 feet of the P-8, putting both crews in harm’s way,” the tweet states. “We expect nothing less than professional & safe interactions!”
The tweet tags Rebecca Ross, spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy Moscow.
BREAKING: Another unsafe #Russian 🇷🇺 intercept of 🇺🇸 @USNavy P-8 in international airspace above #Mediterranean Sea! The Russian aircraft got within 25 feet of the P-8, putting both crews in harm’s way. We expect nothing less than professional & safe interactions!@USEmbRuPress pic.twitter.com/gDdcQQRkOi
— U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet (@USNavyEurope) April 19, 2020
The Navy said in a statement that this is the second instance in a week of a Russian jet intercepting a P-8 over the Mediterranean.
The jet in question is believed to be a Russian SU-35. There were two intercepts over a period of 100 minutes: the first was “safe and professional,” but the second was unsafe, the statement reads.
“In response, the P-8A, which was operating at a constant altitude and airspeed, descended to create separation and ensure safety of both aircraft,” the statement continues. “The unnecessary actions of the Russian SU-35 pilot were inconsistent with good airmanship and international flight rules, seriously jeopardizing the safety of flight of both aircraft.”
MAIN PHOTO: ATLANTIC OCEAN (March 29, 2020) A P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 flies over the Atlantic Ocean during a photo exercise, March 29, 2020. VP-4 is forward deployed to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations and is assigned to Commander, Task Force 67, responsible for tactical control of deployed maritime patrol and reconnaissance squadrons throughout Europe and Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Juan Sua/Released)