Speaking of conflict deescalation between world’s nuclear superpowers and too much Top Gun, just a couple of days after the US shot down a Syrian jet fighter in Syrian airspace prompting Russia to halt its cooperation with American military in the region, we just got word about a maverick Russian pilot who buzzed an American recon aircraft somewhere over the Baltic Sea.
Nota bene, the Baltic Sea can be described as a Russian lake, i.e. the American recon plane was basically in Putin’s backyard, but let that go. What’s very interesting is the aggressive manner in which the Russian pilot chose to intercept/troll the American recon aircraft. According to US officials talking to Fox News that crazy ruskie came within 5 feet from the US recon plane, which is rather reckless and dangerous (also massive cool). Once the US jet was intercepted, the crazy Ivan engaged in erratic behavior, manifesting a very provocative attitude, according to Pentagon officials.
The Russian Su-27 intercepted the RC-135 recon jet very rapidly and the American pilot said it was fully armed, boasting air to air missiles under its wings, which is rather normal for a fighter jet on a patrol/intercept mission while protecting sovereign airspace.
However, this is not the first encounter of the third kind between Russian jets and pesky American recon planes flying very close to Russian airspace. There have been over 35 “interactions” between Russian and US warships/jets since June 2nd, but Monday’s incident is remarkable due to the Pentagon officials describing it as “unsafe”.
What Pentagon brass conveniently “forgot” to mention is how close the RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft was flying to Kaliningrad, a Russian city strategically positioned between Lithuania and Poland. It’s worth mentioning that following the NATO buildup at its borders, Russia moved nuclear ICBMs to Kaliningrad, thus putting a number of European capitals within striking range.