Washington / Moscow: A collision between the US ‘EP-3’ surveillance aircraft patrolling the ‘Black Sea’ region and Sukhoi-27 fighter jet was avoided by a mere 5 feet. The US has alleged that the Russian fighter jet came dangerously close to our surveillance aircraft. Russia has refuted the claim and stated that their jet was flying at a safe distance.
The US navy informed that the US ‘EP-3’ surveillance aircraft was on its routine sortie in the ‘Black Sea’ airspace, connecting the eastern Europe with Russia, on Monday. The navy alleged that ‘While our aircraft was patrolling, within the framework of the international rules, the Russian aircraft started flying close to the American aircraft.’ Two officers connected with the incident said ‘The Russian Sukhoi-27 aircraft was flying within 5 feet of the US surveillance aircraft’.
The Russian aircraft did not stop at only flying dangerously close but the Sukhoi-27 entered the designated path of the surveillance aircraft. To avoid any untoward incident, the US surveillance aircraft had to change its path. The Russian aircraft continued this dangerous and inciting flight for more than 2 hours and 40 minutes, alleged Captain Pamela Kunze, the spokeswoman for US naval forces Europe.
Captain Kunze criticised ‘The unsafe flying of the Russian aircraft could have led to a collision in the air resulting in a major mishap. Our aircraft was patrolling, within the framework of the international rules. The US is not responsible for the provocative flight of the Russian aircraft.’ The US Department of State has protested the incident and criticised that the Russian action was deplorable.
But, Russia has rejected the accusation. ‘Our aircraft had intercepted the American surveillance aircraft accurately within the international rules. The American surveillance aircraft was moving towards the Russian airspace. Therefore, the Russian fighter aircraft had to intervene. Only after the Sukhoi-27 closed in, it could identify that the aircraft was American.’ The Russian Defence Ministry has clarified.
Russia and the US are more and more involved in dangerous flying over the ‘Black Sea’ since the last few months. Along with the ‘Black Sea’, there are reports published of the US and Russian aircrafts flying dangerously close from over the Arctic and the Atlantic airspaces also. Even the photographs of Russian aircrafts flying close to an US warship also have been published. Other than this, the Russian aircrafts have reportedly flown up to the Alaska and California regions of the US.
Out of these the dangerous flights of the US and Russian aircrafts has increased over the ‘Black Sea’. The US has increased surveillance in the ‘Black Sea’ area after Russia annexed Crimea, a part of Ukraine. US naval destroyers also have been deployed in this region. According to the US, this deployment is for Ukrainian security. Whereas, Russia is opposed to the US deployment in the Black Sea.