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Romanian Defense Ministry: Russian fighter jet intercepted Polish aircraft over Black Sea
A Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jet intercepted an L410 Turbolet aircraft belonging to the Polish Border Guard around 60 kilometers east of Romanian airspace at approximately 1:20 p.m. on May 5, the Romanian National Defense Ministry said in a press statement.
According to the ministry, the Polish plane was conducting a routine patrol mission coordinated by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, or Frontex, in international airspace over the Black Sea.
"The aggressive and dangerous maneuvers repeatedly performed by the Russian Federation fighter aircraft in the vicinity of the Polish aircraft generated a high level of turbulence and caused major difficulties in controlling the Polish aircraft," the press statement said.
As a result, the ministry said that two aircraft from the Romanian Air Force and two from the Spanish Air Force designated for Air Police missions were "pre-alert" by the NATO Combined Air Operations Center in Torrejon, Spain.
"While the four aircraft were prepared to intervene at any moment, their intervention was not necessary," the statement added.
The Romanian Defense Ministry noted that the Polish crew "acted calmly and professionally in the situation irresponsibly created by the Russian pilot," managing to land safely at the Kogălniceanu International Airport in Romania. None of the crew members aboard the Polish aircraft were injured.
"The aggressive behavior of the military aircraft belonging to the Russian Federation against an unarmed aircraft carrying out a Frontex mission to monitor the migratory risk in the Black Sea basin is completely unacceptable," the ministry said. "This incident is further evidence of the provocative approach of the Russian Federation in the Black Sea."
Romanian authorities are reportedly in contact with their Polish counterparts and Frontex to further investigate the incident.
On March 14, A Russian fighter jet forced down an American MQ-9 Reaper drone over international waters of the Black Sea.
According to an unnamed U.S. official quoted by CNN, a Russian Su-27 Flanker jet deliberately flew ahead of the drone and released fuel in its path "several times" before damaging the drone's rear propeller. The Reaper drone was then forced to come down in international waters.
Earlier in February, three Russian military aircraft were intercepted over Poland.