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Russia says it intercepted U.K. military planes over Black Sea

by Nate Ostiller October 19, 2023 8:27 PM 2 min read
A Tupolev Tu-142 M3 maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft is flanked by two Sukhoi Su-33 fighter jets during a fly past on the Russian Navy day in St. Petersburg, Russia, on July 28, 2019. (Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Two Russian SU-27 fighter jets intercepted two Typhoon fighter jets and a RC-135 reconnaissance plane from the U.K.'s Royal Air Force (RAF), Russia's Defense Ministry told the state-run Tass media outlet on Oct. 19.

The RAF planes were nearing Russia's border from the Black Sea, the ministry said, before Russian fighter jets approached and forced the RAF planes to turn around.

At the time of publication, the RAF has not commented on the incident or confirmed its veracity.

The Black Sea has become an increasingly important front in Russia's war against Ukraine, as well as a zone of competition between Russia and the West. Both NATO and Russian aircraft operate over the Black Sea.

Russian military planes have engaged in a number of aggressive actions in the Black Sea, such as allegedly attempting to shoot down an RAF plane in September 2022.  

In that incident, which was not revealed until nearly a year later, unnamed Western officials claimed that a Russian SU-27 fired missiles at an RAF reconnaissance plane, which either missed or malfunctioned.

At the time, the Russian Defense Ministry tried to explain the whole incident as a result of a "technical malfunction." Then Defense Secretary Ben Wallace called it a "potentially dangerous engagement" but accepted Moscow's explanation.

In March 2023, a Russian Su-27 Flanker jet deliberately flew into the flight path of an unmanned U.S. Reaper drone over international waters in the Black Sea, damaging it and forcing it to crash.

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