CNN was told by its defence sources that the interception by a Russian fighter of an American observer aircraft was not unsafe but “unprofessional”.
The Russian Su-27 fighter aircraft neared the P-8 aircraft of the US Navy in the international airspace over the Baltic Sea.
The sources said the incident took place on Tuesday, May 1. The Su-27 flew about 20 feet from the P-8. The “safe, but unprofessional” approximation of aircraft, according to his information, lasted about nine minutes.
Meanwhile, a representative of the US Navy told the television channel that similar cases are classified either ‘safe’ or “unsafe”.
The US Navy spokesman for Europe, Zach Harrell, said that due to standing DOD policy, Navy does not release the details of safe interactions.
Russian Su-27 closely flew by US reconnaissance aircraft EP-3 over the Black Sea in January. Media reports indicated that the Russian fighter had approached the American aircraft to a distance of about five feet (1.5 m).
The US Navy then stated that the interception was unsafe and unprofessional. The US State Department in a statement accused the Russian military of “gross violation of existing agreements and international law”.
The Russian Defense Ministry dismissed the accusations and said the actions of the Su-27 over the Black Sea were quite “lawful”.