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US P-8A Poseidon Aircraft Intercepted Thrice in Three Hours by Russian Sukhoi Su-35C Fighter Jets

The US Naval Forces Europe-Africa claimed that the P-8A Poseidon was abiding by the international law and did not provoke the Su-35C in any way.

News18.com

Updated:June 7, 2019, 9:52 AM IST
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US P-8A Poseidon Aircraft Intercepted Thrice in Three Hours by Russian Sukhoi Su-35C Fighter Jets
A Sukhoi SU-35 fighter

In less than three hours on Tuesday, a Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jet intercepted a P-8A Poseidon aircraft of the United States of America thrice in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea.

Responding to the interception, the US Naval Forces Europe-Africa claimed that the P-8A Poseidon was abiding by the international law and did not provoke the Su-35C in any way. However, the Russian Defence Ministry rejected the claims, stating that they had unsafely conducted the intercept of the US military jet over the Mediterranean.

"On June 4, 2019, a US P-8A Poseidon aircraft flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea was intercepted by a Russian SU-35 three times over the course of 175 minutes. The first and third interaction was deemed safe. The second interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the SU-35 conducting a high speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, which put our pilots and crew at risk. The crew of the P-8A reported wake turbulence following the second interaction. The duration of the intercept was approximately 28 minutes," said the US 6th Fleet in a statement.

"While the Russian aircraft was operating in international airspace, this interaction was irresponsible. We expect them to behave within international standards set to ensure safety and to prevent incidents, including the 1972 Agreement for the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas (INCSEA). Unsafe actions‎ increase the risk of miscalculation and the potential for midair collisions. The US aircraft was operating consistent with international law and did not provoke this Russian activity," the statement added.

In the same breath, the Russian Defence Ministry issued an official release stating that the Su-35C was following international rules during its flight. "On June 4, at around 12.30 pm Moscow time (09:30 GMT), Russian systems of control of the airspace of the Hmeymim air base in Syria detected an air target (later identified as P-8A Poseidon) above the neutral waters of the Mediterranean Sea that was moving forward to the basing point of the Russian naval facility in Tartus… After the US aircraft changed its trajectory, the Russian fighter returned to the air base," the Russian Defence Ministry said.

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| Edited by: Anirudh SK
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