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Russia tells the US to stop flying near its borders after an Su-27 flew within 5 feet of an American spy plane

Business Insider logoBusiness Insider 2018-02-02 Daniel Brown
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(Video provided by Reuters)

The Russian Defence Ministry warned the US military on Thursday to either stop flying near its borders or to "agree on their rules," according to state-owned media TASS.

"If the realization of this fact by American pilots causes depression and phobias, we recommend that the American side either exclude flying near Russian borders in the future or return to the negotiations table and agree on a set of rules for such flights," the Russian Defence Ministry also said, according to RT.

US Naval Forces Europe-Africa accused Russia on Monday of an unsafe intercept over the Black Sea near Crimea, saying that an Su-27 flew within five feet of a US Navy EP-3 Aries signals reconnaissance aircraft. Video appeared to show the Russian fighter jet noticably close to the US plane.

"This interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the Su-27 closing to within five feet and crossing directly through the EP-3's flight path, causing the EP-3 to fly through the Su-27's jet wash. The duration of the intercept lasted two hours and 40 minutes," the US Navy said.

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The Russian Defence Ministry said Thursday that the incident earlier in the week was "absolutely legal and perfectly safe for the American surveillance plane."

The US has released several videos of the intercept, showing the Su-27 buzzing and hovering near the US spy plane.

Russia said that the incident was an escort - not an intercept.

The Russian Defence Ministry and Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., did not respond to Business Insider's emails asking why such manoeuvres were necessary for an escort, and what "agree to their rules" meant.

Moscow also called out the US commander of the 67th Task Force of the 6th Fleet, saying, "We would like to address the commander of the 67th Task Force of the 6th Fleet Bill Ellis with a reminder Crimea is an integral part of Russia," Tass reported.

The Russian Defence Ministry also claimed that NATO planes have manoeuvred in similar ways in the past, but they "cause absolutely no effects on Russian crews."

US Naval Forces Europe-Africa did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

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