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Russia scrambles fighter jet to intercept US military plane

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)
The file photo shows Russian Air Force MiG-31 fighter jets flying in formation during the Victory Day parade, marking the 73rd anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, above Red Square in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Reuters)

Russia has reportedly scrambled a MiG-31 fighter jet to chase away a US military plane over the Barents Sea, amid escalating tensions between Moscow and the West over the recent military build-ups along its borders.

RIA news agency, citing a Russian navy statement, reported on Friday that the US plane was a P-8A Poseidon aircraft, adding that the Russian fighter jet safely returned to its base as soon as the US plane moved away from Russia’s border.

The development comes days after the Russian Defense Ministry said Russia has scrambled a Su-27 fighter jet to escort a US B-52H bomber over the Baltic Sea.

The ministry said it had identified an "air target and prevented the violation of the Russian state border".

Back in May, Russia said it had dispatched a warplane to intercept a US spy aircraft as it was heading toward Russian airspace over the Chukchi Sea.

Russia’s National Defense Management Center said at the time that a Russian MiG-31 fighter jet had been scrambled to ward off the American spy aircraft.

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

The provocative flights have particularly increased in frequency since 2014, when the then-Ukrainian territory of Crimea joined Russia following a referendum and when a military conflict erupted in eastern Ukraine.

Russia has time and again voiced concern about the increasing activities of the US-led NATO forces near its western borders.

Despite Russia’s repeated warnings against the violation of its airspace, US-led military alliance, NATO, has intensified its activities near the Russian border at the end of last year.

The latest development comes as Russia has decided to deploy nearly 20 new military units to the country’s southwestern region by the end of the year amid an escalation of tensions between Russia and the United States and NATO over Ukraine.

Russia has built up troop presence near the Ukrainian border amid increased activity by NATO forces in the region. The US and other NATO members have deployed military forces to the region as well.

The US has also been deploying missiles in Eastern Europe and near Russia’s western borders, a provocative move repeatedly denounced by Moscow.

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