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Russia flying dangerously close to Navy jets in Mediterranean, U.S. military

Navy reports second such 'unsafe' maneuver in past four days

USS Mount Whitney, flagship of the US Sixth Fleet, enters the port of Klaipeda, Luthuania
(PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Updated: April 20, 2020 - 11:41am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Russian pilots on Sunday flew dangerously close while intercepting a Navy jet in the Mediterranean, the second such incident in four days, according to the U.S. military.  

The Navy jet was a Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft in the U.S. Sixth Fleet flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea.

Navy officials say that the Russian SU-35 on Sunday, in fact, intercepted the Navy jet twice in less than two minutes – the first without concern but the second deemed by Navy officials “unsafe and unprofessional.” 

Officials say the Russian jet conducted a “high-speed, high-powered maneuver” roughly 25 feet in front of the Navy aircraft – leaving a wake of turbulence and exhaust. 

Officials said the Navy jet descended to avoid a potential accident and was following international law,  In both cases in the past few days, U.S. aircraft were operating consistent with the law, Navy officials said.