BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:00 A.M.) – The Russian Air Force intercepted a U.S. military plane in the eastern Mediterranean on three separate occasions on June 4th, the U.S.’ 6th Fleet reported.
“On June 4, 2019, a U.S. P-8A Poseidon aircraft flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea was intercepted by a Russian SU-35 three times over the course of 175 minutes. The first and third interaction were deemed safe. The second interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the SU-35 conducting a high speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, which put our pilots and crew at risk. The crew of the P-8A reported wake turbulence following the second interaction. The duration of the intercept was approximately 28 minutes,” the 6th Fleet claimed.
The 6th Fleet slammed the Russian Air Force’s interception, calling the move ‘irresponsible’.
“While the Russian aircraft was operating in international airspace, this interaction was irresponsible. We expect them to behave within international standards set to ensure safety and to prevent incidents, including the 1972 Agreement for the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas (INCSEA). Unsafe actions increase the risk of miscalculation and potential for midair collisions.”
The 6th Fleet would add that “the U.S. aircraft was operating consistent with international law and did not provoke this Russian activity.”
The P-8A Poseidon routinely makes these flights in the eastern Mediterranean, but they are rarely intercepted by foreign warplanes in this region.