Russia and USA in mid-air face-off as fighter jet scrambles to block spy plane near border

RUSSIAN air force chiefs scrambled an Su-27 fighter jet to intercept an American spy plane heading for its airspace just days after Moscow’s top general warned of a growing threat from the US, Kremlin officials have confirmed.

A Defence Ministry spokesman said the US plane was detected approaching Russia’s borders while flying above the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea. The fighter jet approached the US aircraft at a safe distance and “identified it as an RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft” before escorting away from Russian airspace. The Defence Ministry spokesman said: “In order to intercept the target, a Su-27 fighter jet of the on-duty air defence forces was scrambled.

“Russian fighter jets regularly perform missions above the Baltic Sea to escort foreign military aircraft trying to approach the Russian border.”

The Defence Ministry released a short video of the encounter filmed from the cockpit of the Russian warplane.

The video shows the jet approaching the larger US reconnaissance plane from behind and then flying alongside.

The latest engagement comes at time of heightened tension between Russia and the US and just days after top Moscow military official Valery Gerasimov urged his forces to create threats against its Western adversaries.

General Gerasimov, chief of the general staff of Russia’s armed forces, said Washington had deployed a secret strategy to destabilise its enemies by sparking street protests and civil disobedience before launching military strikes.

And he said Russia had to “respond to the threat by creating a threat”, suggesting cyber-attacks could provide “the possibility of remote, hidden influence”.

In his annual speech about Russia’s military strategy to Kremlin defence chiefs he said: “Information technologies are becoming some of the most promising weapons.”

He said…

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