‘Unnecessary, potential for midair collisions’: 2 Russian aircraft intercept US Air Force bomber over Black Sea
A US Air Force B-52 bomber was intercepted by two Russian aircraft in an “unsafe” and “unprofessional” manner over the Black Sea and in international waters, US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Public Affairs said in a statement citing CNN.
The incident took place on Friday.
The Russian pilots crossed within 100 feet of the US Air Force bomber’s nose several times and caused turbulence to the B-52, thereby limiting its ability to manoeuvre, the statement said.
“Actions like these increase the potential for midair collisions, are unnecessary, and inconsistent with good airmanship and international flight rules,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, in the statement.
“While the Russian aircraft were operating in international airspace, they jeopardised the safety of flight of the aircraft involved. We expect them to operate within international standards set to ensure safety and prevent accidents,” he was quoted as saying.
Earlier on Friday, the B-52s flew over 30 NATO countries “to demonstrate NATO solidarity, enhance readiness and provide training opportunities aimed at enhancing interoperability for all participating aircrews from the US and NATO allies,” read a statement from US European Command, according to CNN.
This comes amid tensions between the US and Russia and questions over Washington’s commitment to the alliance in the wake of a recent decision to cut US troop levels in Europe.
US President Donald Trump had earlier criticised NATO member countries for not meeting the alliance target of spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence. Trump then asked the Pentagon to reduce the number of American troops in Germany, citing Berlin’s failure of committing to spend 2 per cent of its GDP on defence.
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