Russian Fighter Jets Scrambled to Intercept U.S. Reconnaissance Aircraft Over Black Sea

Russian fighter jets were scrambled to intercept U.S. reconnaissance aircraft over the neutral waters of the Black Sea on June 26, the Russian Ministry of Defence announced.

According to the MoD statement, Russian Navy Su-30 “Flanker” aircraft of the Black Sea Fleet naval aviation from the air defense duty forces of the Southern Military District was scrambled for the mission.

The U.S. aircraft intercepted included a U.S. Air Force RC-135 strategic reconnaissance aircraft, a USAF KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft and a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.

The U.S. aircraft were continuously accompanied by Russian radar control equipment at a considerable distance from the state border of the Russian Federation.

The MoD statement said that the U.S. aircraft “immediately changed the direction of flight” from the Russian state borders following the intercept. It added that the crew of the Russian fighter approached at a “safe distance” from the targets.

“The flight of the Russian combat aircraft took place in strict accordance with international airspace use regulations”, the statement said. After completing the task, the Russian fighter returned safely to the base airfield.

KC-135 refueling RC-135
A U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft refueling a USAF RC-135 strategic reconnaissance aircraft over the Black Sea on June 26, 2020. Screengrab from Russian  Ministry of Defence video.

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