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U.S. Navy releases video of "unsafe" Russian jet intercept

The U.S. Navy has released a short video clip from an incident in which a U.S. aircraft was intercepted by a Russian jet while flying in international airspace over the Black Sea. The video, posted on YouTube, is only a few seconds long, but the caption accompanying the clip says the "intercept lasted two hours and 40 minutes."

The intercept occurred on Monday and was considered "unsafe" by the U.S. military. The Russian jet -- an Su-27 -- came within 5 feet of the U.S. plane -- a Navy EP-3 Aries aircraft -- and crossed directly through its flight path, causing the EP-3 to fly through a trail of turbulence, the Pentagon said.

Pentagon spokeswoman Capt. Pamela Kunze said Monday the Russian military is "within its right" to fly in international airspace, but they "must behave within international standards set to ensure safety and prevent incidents." 

"Unsafe actions‎ increase the risk of miscalculation and midair collisions," she said.

The Pentagon said the U.S. aircraft was "operating in accordance with international law" and did not provoke Russian activity.

U.S. EP-3 Intercepted in the Black Sea by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet on YouTube

The U.S. State Department issued a statement Monday evening that noted the incident "with the highest level of concern" and said Russia "was flagrantly violating existing agreements and international law."

"The United States notes with the highest level of concern the latest incident of unsafe Russian military practices, over the Black Sea on January 29. As confirmed by U.S. Naval Forces Europe, a Russian SU-27 engaged in an unsafe interaction with a U.S. EP-3 in international airspace, with the Russia pilot closing to within 5 feet and crossing directly in front of the EP-3's flight path," the statement read. "While the U.S. aircraft was operating under international law, the Russian side was flagrantly violating existing agreements and international law, in this case the 1972 Agreement for the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas (INCSEA). This is but the latest example of Russian military activities disregarding international norms and agreements. We call on Russia to cease these unsafe actions that increase the risk of miscalculation, danger to aircrew on both sides, and midair collisions."

The incident is the latest in a series of close calls between Russian and U.S. aircraft over the Black Sea.