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Video shows Russian pilots making "unsafe" intercept of U.S. surveillance plane for 3rd time in 2 months

Armed Russian jets fly close to U.S. plane
Fully-armed Russian jets fly dangerously close to U.S. patrol plane 00:48

Russian pilots made an unsafe intercept of a U.S. surveillance aircraft flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea for the third time in two months, the Navy said in a statement Tuesday. The 6th Fleet said two Russian SU-35 fighters simultaneously flew near the wings of the U.S. P-8A Poseidon plane in an "unsafe and unprofessional" manner.

The U.S. military released video of the incident, showing the Russian aircraft flying close to the wings of the American surveillance plane.

Unsafe Unprofessional Interception of a U.S. Navy P8 by Russian SU-35s over the Mediterranean Sea by CNE-CNA/C6F on YouTube

"The unnecessary actions of the Russian Su-35 pilots were inconsistent with good airmanship and international flight rules, and jeopardized the safety of flight of both aircraft," the Navy statement said.

The close encounter, which lasted 65 minutes, comes after Russian pilots buzzed two American planes in the same region in April. In both of those incidents, Russian jets came within 25 feet of the U.S. aircraft.

The incident also came the same day that the U.S. military accused Russia of deploying fighter planes to Libya to support Russian mercenaries aiding forces in their offensive on the capital, Tripoli. Russia called that claim "disinformation."  

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