Russian planes intercepted US Navy aircraft over Mediterranean: Pentagon

AFP , Wednesday 16 Feb 2022

Three US Navy aircraft were intercepted by Russian planes in an "unprofessional" manner over the Mediterranean Sea last weekend, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

US Navy
A US Navy officer speaks on the radio on the deck of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, which arrived on a four-day visit, and is anchored off the city of Split on February 14, 2022. AFP

"While no one was hurt, interactions such as these could result in miscalculations and mistakes that lead to more dangerous outcomes," US Navy Captain Mike Kafka said in a statement.

The three P-8A maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft "experienced unprofessional intercepts by Russian aircraft" while "flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea," Kafka said.

He said the United States has "made our concerns known to Russian officials through diplomatic channels.

"The US will continue to operate safely, professionally, and consistent with international law in international waters and airspace," Kafka said. "We expect Russia to do the same."

According to a US official who asked to remain anonymous, one of the Russian planes came dangerously close to a US aircraft.

The incidents come amid heightened tensions over Russia's huge build-up of military forces along the border with Ukraine.

Russia's deployment of troops, missiles and warships around Ukraine has being described as Europe's worst security crisis since the Cold War.

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