U.S. and Russian warplanes working within the jap Mediterranean Sea flew dangerously shut to one another in three separate incidents final weekend, together with one during which the plane got here inside about 5 ft of one another, Pentagon officers mentioned on Wednesday.
The shut calls, which occurred in worldwide airspace on Friday and Saturday, concerned three Russian Su-35 jet fighters that crossed into the flight path of three U.S. P-8A surveillance plane, the officers mentioned.
The incidents, which had been reported earlier by The Wall Road Journal, got here amid heightened tensions between the USA and Russia over Ukraine. The Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, has massed troops at Ukraine’s borders, demanding ensures the nation by no means be a part of NATO, whereas President Biden has threatened sanctions ought to the Russians invade.
Protection Division officers mentioned two of the midair encounters had been deemed unsafe and the third unprofessional.
“We have now made our issues recognized to Russian officers by means of diplomatic channels,” Navy Capt. Mike Kafka, a Pentagon spokesman, mentioned in an e mail.
“Whereas nobody was damage, interactions similar to these may end in miscalculations and errors that result in extra harmful outcomes.”
The Navy P-8A is a slow-flying maritime patrol plane, used largely to conduct surveillance missions. Against this, the Russian Su-35 is a jet fighter that flies roughly 3 times sooner and is designed to launch offensive weapons.