Russian fighter flies 20 feet from US Navy plane over Black Sea

Earlier this week, a Russian fighter came within 20 feet of an American military reconnaissance aircraft flying in international airspace over the Black Sea.

The daylight encounter between the two aircraft was deemed to be "safe and professional" by the U.S. military and the Russian Defense Ministry described the Russian fighter as having approached the U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon at "a safe distance."

"May 9, 2017, a Russian SU-27 came within approximately 20 feet of a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon while the U.S. Navy aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace," said Captain Pamela Kunze, a spokesperson for U.S. Naval Forces Europe. "The interaction lasted 65 minutes and was considered safe and professional by the P-8A's mission commander."

Kunze noted that U.S. Navy ships and aircraft operate routinely in the Black Sea consistent with international law, saying, "U.S. Navy aircraft and ships routinely interact with Russian units in international seas and water and most interactions are safe and professional."

According to a statement from the Russian Defense Ministry, the Russian fighter approached the American aircraft at "a safe distance" and identified it as a P-8A Poseidon.

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