A Russian fighter jet escorted a US reconnaissance aircraft over the Pacific Ocean, the Russian Defence Ministry said Friday — as tensions between Moscow and Washington mount.
TASS, a Russian news agency, reported that ministry officials detected a US RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft over the Pacific Ocean along the southeastern coast of the 777-mile Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s far eastern border.
“A MiG-31 fighter jet was scrambled from an airfield in the Kamchatka region to identify and escort the plane,” the statement by the Russian Defence Ministry read. “The crew identified it as a US RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft.”
The Russian fighter jet then returned to its home airfield after turning the US aircraft away from the Russian border, TASS reported.
“The Defense Ministry said that the Russian fighter jet’s flight was carried out in strict compliance with international rules for the use of airspace,” the outlet added.
A 28-second clip posted to Twitter early Friday purportedly shows the Russian jet escorting the US aircraft.
Meanwhile, the US Department of Defense is looking into the encounter, Fox News reported Friday.
The mid-air encounter comes just one day after the Biden administration imposed new sanctions targeting several Russian officials and companies, as well as the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats.
The sweeping measures are meant to punish Russia for the SolarWinds hack of federal agencies and the country’s efforts to meddle in US elections, which Russia has denied.
In a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday, President Biden also floated the idea of an in-person summit in the coming months.
The Russian Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, warned of “inevitable” retaliation, claiming that “Washington should realize it will have to pay the price for the degradation of bilateral ties.”
Russia had also warned the US on Tuesday to stay away from the Black Sea “for their own good” after the Biden administration said it was planning to send two destroyers to the region in response to Moscow’s ramped-up military presence near Ukraine.
With Post wires