On 4 June, a Russian Su-35 fighter intercepted an American P-8A “Poseidon” surveillance aircraft three times in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea, the US 6th Fleet reported the following day. The second interception was considered “unsafe”.
The Russian Su-35 flew at high speed directly in front of the American aircraft, resulting in a wave of turbulence that put the pilots’ lives at risk, the US military’s press service explained.
The US Air Force stresses that it did not provoke the Russian fighter, and called Russia’s actions in international airspace “irresponsible”.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that the American aircraft had been approaching Russia’s naval base in Tartus, Syria.
In recent years there have been numerous dangerous encounters between Russian and NATO aircraft over the Black Sea, the Baltics, Syria and elsewhere.
In January last year, a Russian Su-27 flew within two meters of a US surveillance aircraft in international airspace over the Black Sea.
In November 2017, a Russian Su-30 fighter performed an “unsafe interception” of a US Navy P8-A “Poseidon”. In this case too, the Russian jet flew directly in front of the American plane, causing powerful turbulence and forcing the other aircraft to deviate from its course by 15 degrees, according to the official US report.
In April 2014, two Russian fighters made a dangerous fly-by of an American destroyer.