A Russian military aircraft escorted a U.S. reconnaissance plane that was flying over the neutral waters of the Mediterranean Sea toward Russian military facilities in Syria. The Russian fighter jet was scrambled from Khmeimim airbase to intercept the American aircraft, reported TASS with reference to the Russian Ministry of Defense.
According to the report, Russian radars spotted the American plane on April 19. "A fighter jet from the on-duty air defense forces of Khmeimim airbase was sent to identify the target," the Ministry said. As a result, after the Russian plane took off, the U.S. reconnaissance plane changed its course. The Russian plane then returned to the base.
Earlier, the U.S. reported that on April 19 a U.S. P-8A Poseidon aircraft was intercepted by a Russian fighter jet. According to the U.S. officials, the plane was intercepted twice within 100 minutes. The U.S. military said that the second time the Russian Su-35 approached the American plane too close and at high speed. The U.S. called the actions of the Russian military irresponsible.
The U.S. military reported that on April 16, under similar circumstances, a Russian Su-35 fighter jet made an unsafe maneuver near a U.S. P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft approaching it at high speed, which endangered the pilots and crew of the P-8A Poseidon. The U.S. Sixth Fleet called the Russian pilots’ actions irresponsible and urged them to behave in accordance with international standards.
Khmeimim airbase houses the Russian Air Force in Syria. It was established in 2015. Under the agreement between Russia and Syria, the air group is stationed at the base indefinitely.