The U.S. 6th Fleet said Tuesday that a U.S. aircraft was intercepted three times in less than three hours by a Russian aircraft while flying over the Mediterranean Sea.
“On June 4, 2019, a U.S. P-8A Poseidon aircraft flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea was intercepted by a Russian SU-35 three times over the course of 175 minutes,” a statement by the 6th Fleet said Tuesday.
The statement also said that the second interaction was “unsafe” because the Russian aircraft had been flying with a high speed “directly in front of the mission aircraft, which put our pilots and crew at risk.” This activity was not provoked, the 6th Fleet adds as the American aircraft was maintaining international standards.
“While the Russian aircraft was operating in international airspace, this interaction was irresponsible. We expect them to behave within international standards set to ensure safety and to prevent incidents,” the statement further noted, arguing that such unsafe actions could very well lead to midair collisions.
A similar incident took place last month when US F-22 stealth jets intercepted four Russian bombers and two Russian SU-35 fighter jets in international airspace. The U.S. military considers the Russian aircraft as part of Moscow’s effort to prepare its military for a potential crisis while sending a message of strength to adversaries.