Russia confrontation: SU-27 fighter jet chases away NATO warplane in tense standoff
16 August, 2019, 17:00
A Russian fighter jet acted in an "unsafe manner" during a Tuesday encounter with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation aircraft, with the Russian jet nearly cutting into the flight path of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation plane, forcing the alliance jet to maneuver to avoid a risky situation, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military official tells CNN.
In footage released by the Russia Ministry of Defence (MoD), the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation warplane can be seen approaching minister Sergey Shoigu's plane, which was en route from Kaliningrad region. The Russian jet abruptly tilts to the left in the direction of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation warplane, forcing it to move leftwards.
It reported the F-18 jet based in Lithuania had tried to approach Mr Shoigu's plane, prompting one of two Russian SU-27 fighter jets accompanying to ward it off.
A North Atlantic Treaty Organisation official later told TASS the jets had been scrambled to identify the aircraft, which was flying close to the alliance's airspace.
The Russian news service TASS said that one of the Russian fighters had forced the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation approaching aircraft to leave the area, with Shoygu's press secretary posting a video of the encounter on social media. "NATO has no information as to who was on board".
Western military commanders have been on high alert in recent weeks, following Moscow's vast military exercises in Eastern Europe.
Over the past few years, the Baltic Sea region has become a flashpoint in the showdown between Russia and the West. Moscow has repeatedly voiced concerns over the expansion of NATO's presence along the Russian border and along borders with Poland and Belarus.
Russia's military continues to fly increasing close to Estonian airspace, leading to concerns over whether the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally's sovereignty was being violated.
This is not the first time North Atlantic Treaty Organisation jets and Shoigu's airplane have been involved in such an incident, with a Polish F-16 approaching the Russian defense minister's plane back in 2017 over the Baltic sea, before it was forced away by Russian jets. The Su-27 Flanker is a Russian fourth-generation fighter jet that has been around since the 1980s.
"The Tu-214 had a valid flight plan".
As well as carrying out air exercises, Russian forcers are reportedly carrying out a vast naval drill in the Baltic Sea.
Russian strategists view the Black and Baltic Seas as key strategic footholds in Europe.
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