The US has accused two Russian fighter jets of “unsafely” intercepting one of its patrol planes over the Mediterranean Sea.
Two Russian SU-35 jets flew alongside the P-8A Poseidon for one hour and four minutes on Tuesday, the US defence department said.
The jets stopped the US 6th Fleet plane from being able to manoeuvre properly, making the intercept “unsafe and unprofessional”, it added.
It is the second time in three months the US has complained of unwanted interceptions by Russian planes in the same area.
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A defence department spokesman said that while the intercept happened in international airspace, Russia’s behaviour was “irresponsible”.
A statement said: “Actions like these increase the potential for midair collisions.”
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Russia has not yet commented.
The US 6th Fleet is headquartered in Naples, Italy, where it works to “advance US national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa”.
Image: It comes after satellite images appeared to a show a Russian plane in Libya. Pic: US Africa Command
It comes after the US also accused Russia of sending fighter jets to Libya to support Russian mercenaries there, after satellite images showed a Russian Mig-29 on an airfield near Tripoli.
It is believed they were providing air support to forces led by General Haftar in their fight against the internationally recognised Government of National Accord.
Haftar’s forces, known as the Libyan National Army (LNA), are being supported by The Wagner Group, a Russian-backed mercenary outfit.
Although those images have been circling for days, the US has now said it is confident the jet is Russian and can only have come on the orders of Moscow.
The Kremlin has again not commented on the issue.
It was also reported this week by Russian media that the country had begun construction of its first prototype stealth bomber aircraft.
Source : Sky News