Russia says it has dispatched two fighter jets to “escort” two US warplanes over the Black Sea to secure the state border.
Citing the Russian Defense Ministry, the RIA news agency reported that two Sukhoi Su-30 aircraft escorted two B-1B strategic bombers over the sea on Wednesday.
In a similar move, a Russian Mikoyan MiG-31 was scrambled on Sunday to escort a B-1B Lancer that was crossing over the Sea of Japan.
Days earlier, an incident occurred with a US naval destroyer in the far-east. The guided missile destroyer attempted to violate Russia’s state border in the region. Russia’s Admiral Tributs destroyer closely approached the American vessel and chased it out of the area, which had been declared off-limits “to navigation due to exercises with artillery fire” during a joint military drill between Russia and China. The US warship had ignored repeated warnings to leave the area, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, which slammed the destroyer’s “crude violation” of international rules. The American destroyer changed course when the two ships were just 60 meters away from each other and sped away, it added.
Russia has frequently accused the US and its NATO allies of dangerous and provocative maneuvers at sea and in the air near its borders. In June, Russia said it had fired warning shots and dropped bombs in the path of a British warship to chase it out of the Black Sea waters off the coast of Crimea. The incident marked the first time since the Cold War that Moscow was using live ammunition to deter a NATO warship.
Relations between Russian and the West have grown increasingly tense over the past few years.