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Photos show close encounter between armed Russian jet, U.S. warplane

Russian intercept

Military officials have released images showing a Russian jet that came within five feet of a U.S. reconnaissance plane over the Baltic Sea this week. CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reported about the incident Tuesday.

The Russian aircraft came within five feet of a wing tip of a U.S. RC-135 reconnaissance plane, then flew under the U.S. aircraft and came up near the other wing tip, according to a U.S. official.

Martin reported that the U.S. Air Force considered the incident to be an unsafe intercept.

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An armed Russian jet came within five feet of a U.S. reconnaissance plane over the Baltic Sea. United States Air Force/United States European Command

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed Tuesday that the RC-135 plane swerved dangerously near a Russian SU-27 fighter jet, according to the Reuters news agency which cited Russia's state-owned RIA Novosti news agency.

U.S. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said the American plane "did nothing to provoke this behavior," Reuters added.

The RC-135 reconnaissance plane compares in size to a commercial aircraft and is used to collect all electronic transmissions from a particular area. The incident is reported to have happened 25 miles northwest of the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.

Last month, a Russian fighter jet flew within 20 feet of an American spy plane over the Black Sea, but the U.S. Navy called it a safe encounter.

The Russian jet intercepted the U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft in international airspace as it flew a course toward Russian territory, according to Russia's military.

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A Russian aircraft came within five feet of a wing tip for a U.S. RC-135 reconnaissance plane, U.S. officials said. United States Air Force/United States European Command