The incident occurred Monday morning as an RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft flew in international airspace above the Baltic Sea.
It was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 Flanker fighter jet, which approached at a high speed.
The Russian fighter “came within several feet” of the RC-135, according to Capt. Joseph Alonso, a spokesman for U.S. European Command. A separate defense official said the fighter came within five feet of the RC-135 as it flew alongside it for several minutes.
The pilot of the American aircraft determined that the Russian aircraft’s actions were “unsafe” because of its “high rate of closure speed and poor control of the aircraft” said Alonso.