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Russia scrambles fighter jet to intercept US spy plane over Black Sea: RIA

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter is seen taking off during an air show at the Teknofest festival at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, on September 17, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

The Russian military says it has scrambled one of its Sukhoi fighter jets to intercept a US spy plane before approaching the country’s border over the Black Sea.

Russia's RIA Novosti news agency quoted the Russian Defense Ministry as making the announcement in a statement on Saturday.

"A Su-27 fighter jet of the Southern Military District’s air defense units on duty was scrambled to identify the air target and to prevent it from violating the state border of the Russian Federation," the statement said.

"The Russian fighter jet crew identified the air target as an RC-135 strategic reconnaissance aircraft of the US Air Force and escorted it over the Black Sea," it added.

The Russian Defense Ministry underlined that the fighter jet returned to its home base after the US reconnaissance aircraft had turned away from Russia's border.

Similar incidents have happened in the area several times this year.

The last encounter between Russian and US aircraft occurred on August 12, when a Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet was scrambled to intercept two US military planes as they were heading toward Russian airspace over the Black Sea.

American bombers and spy planes, as well as NATO aircraft, have frequently been detected near Russia’s borders.

The provocative flights have increased since 2014, when Crimea joined Russia following a referendum in which more than 90 percent of participants voted in favor of seceding from Ukraine, touching off a military conflict in eastern Ukraine that continues to this day. 

Russia has repeatedly expressed concern about the increasing activities of the US-led NATO forces near its western borders.

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