Russia sent Su-27 fighters to identify and force US B-1B strategic bombers to change direction over the Baltic Sea.
“Airspace control systems have detected two targets in the Baltic Sea, approaching the border of the Russian Federation,” announced the Russian Ministry of Defense on May 23. “Baltic Fleet Su-27 Fighters Take Off to Avoid Russian Border Violations.”
Russia’s Defense Ministry said Su-27 pilots spotted two US Air Force B-1B strategic bombers “in the designated combat area”. After forcing the American bombers to fly away from the Russian border, the Su-27 fighters returned to base.
“The flight of the Russian fighter strictly complies with international airspace regulations,” the agency said. “The borders of the Russian Federation are not violated.”
Russia’s Baltic Fleet Su-27 fighter took off in May 2022. Photo: Russian Defense Force
Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder later confirmed that two US B-1B bombers flew over the Baltic Sea and encountered Russian fighter jets. “This is a long-planned operation in Europe. As far as I know, it was a safe and professional interaction with a Russian aircraft,” Ryder said.
The Russian Air Force has repeatedly sent fighter jets to intercept foreign aircraft in waters close to the border in recent weeks. Earlier, on May 15, Russia sent Su-27 fighters to intercept the German navy’s P-3C Orion and French army Atlantic-2 reconnaissance aircraft over the Baltic Sea.
An American MQ-9 Reaper drone (UAV) on March 14 crashed into the Black Sea after being fueled by a Russian Su-27 fighter jet. The US military said the UAV’s propeller was damaged after a collision with a Russian fighter jet. However, the Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that the Su-27 fighter did not collide with the US UAV.
Kaliningrad overseas territory of Russia and its surroundings. Graphics: BBC
Nguyen Tien (According to RIA Novosti, AFP)