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Russian bombers intercept two US reconnaissance aircraft over Baltic Sea

Russian Su-27 fighter jets consecutively intercepted two US RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft, with one of them making a provocative turn towards the Russian plane, the Russian defense ministry said on Tuesday.

"On June 19, Russian airspace control means over neutral waters of the Baltic Sea spotted an aerial target flying towards the Russian state border. A Su-27 fighter jet of the Baltic Fleet air defense alert unit was scrambled to intercept the target. After approaching it, the Russian plane identified it as a US RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft. When being escorted, the RC-135 plane made an attempt at approaching the Russian fighter jet making a provocative turn towards it," the ministry said.

"The Russian pilot offered a reaction to the RC-135's maneuver, after which continued to escort the US reconnaissance plane until it changed its route off the Russian border," the ministry said.

Over that past week, US and NATO reconnaissance planes have performed more than 15 flights over the Baltic Sea in the exact proximity to the Russian border, the ministry said and stressed that Russian fighter jets are flying over neutral waters of the Baltic Sea in strict compliance with international rules.

According to earlier reports in the Western media, a Russian Su-27 fighter jet allegedly approached a US reconnaissance plane over the Baltic Sea to a distance of less than two meters. Pentagon said it was a provocative maneuver.

"As for the alleged 'provocative' nature of the flight, we would like to stress that ten minutes later another RC-135 plane entered this zone to be also intercepted by the Russia Su-27," the Russian defense ministry added.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 20Jun17]

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