US releases photos of 'unsafe' Russian jet intercept

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A video of Wednesday's incident broadcast on a TV channel run by the Russian Ministry of Defense showed an F-16 flying parallel with the minister's plane at a short distance.

Shortly thereafter, it was known that a Russian Su-27 fighter had arrived on a Swedish spy plane during a flight in an worldwide airspace.

"A US RC-135U flying in worldwide airspace over the Baltic Sea was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 Flanker June 19, 2017". "The [Russian] fighter "showed" the Nato-ite its weaponry by tilting its wings", the state news agency Ria Novosti reported.

Russian media said SU-27s were escorting the Russian defense minister to a meeting in Kaliningrad when the intercept occurred.

There have been more than 30 interactions between US and Russian planes and ships in the Baltic Sea since the beginning of June, US officials tell CNN.

A North Atlantic Treaty Organisation official said the Russian planes were tracked because they did not respond to air traffic control requests to identify themselves.

The source said North Atlantic Treaty Organisation did not know who was on board the Russian planes, which were flying safely and professionally, adding that the F-16 followed standard procedures, RFM FM said.

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Russian state media also reported that a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation jet shadowed Shoigu's plane when he departed Kalingrad, but did not approach as closely as in the prior incident.

"The vast majority of interactions we have, intercepts that occur when we fly and that are intercepted by the Russians are safe".

"We regret that Russian Federation has chose to turn away from an opportunity to discuss bilateral obstacles that hinder U.S. -Russia relations", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement Wednesday.

The Baltic Sea has become an area of rising tensions between Moscow and the Western military alliance.

The meeting came after North Atlantic Treaty Organisation held military exercises at the weekend in Poland on the Lithuanian border close to Kaliningrad.

Then, 10 minutes later, a second US RC-135 entered the zone and was also intercepted by the Russian Su-27 jet, the ministry said. "This is an exception, not the norm, but we were again operating in worldwide airspace and did nothing to provoke", said Pentagon spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis.

US-Russia tensions are high in Syria after the Kremlin warned it would target any US-led coalition's aircraft flying west of the Euphrates River.

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