A day after a Russian fighter allegedly flew within 5 feet of a US reconnaissance plane traveling over the Baltic Sea, Reuters reports that a NATO F-16 fighter jet returned the favor when it tried to improperly approach a plane carrying the Russian defense minister. The plane was traveling to the city of Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave along the Baltic coast, where Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu was scheduled to discuss security issues with defense officials on Wednesday. The NATO aircraft was warded off by a Russian Su-27 jet, according to RT.
In an accounting of the incident, Reuters notes that one of the Russian fighter jets escorting Shoigu’s plane had inserted itself between the defense minister’s plane and the NATO fighter and “tilted its wings from side to side to show the weapons it was carrying, Russian agencies said.” After that the F-16 promptly left the area.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that he has no information about the incident.
“It’s probably better to ask the Defense Ministry,” Peskov said in answer to journalists’ questions.
The latest provocative maneuver represents yet another escalation of tensions between the US and Russia. On Monday, Russia suspended cooperation with the US in Syria under the “memorandum of incident prevention in Syrian skies”, warning that its missile defense would intercept any aircraft traveling in Russia’s area of operation after a US fighter jet shot down a Syrian regime aircraft on Sunday.
As RT notes, encounters between US and Russian warplanes over the Baltic are becoming more frequent. A Russian fighter jet intercepted a small group of US warplanes, including Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker military refueling aircraft, two B-1 bombers and one B-52, during a BALTOPS (Baltic Operations) annual training exercise on June 10.
Full article: Caught On Video: Russian, NATO Jets In Near Standoff After F-16 Buzzes Defense Minister’s Airplane (ZeroHedge)