On Tuesday, a Russian Su-27 fighter jet aggressively buzzed a P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane deployed by the U.S. Navy over the Black Sea, Navy Times reports. The two aircraft flew in tandem just 20 feet apart for five minutes, one of the closer brushes between U.S. and Russian aircraft amid increasingly more frequent encounters in recent weeks
NBC News reported that the Su-27 approached the P-8A when it was “conducting routine operations in international airspace,” said Capt. Pamela Kunze, a spokeswoman for U.S. Naval Forces Europe.
Kunze said that the interaction was deemed cordial, though the Su-27’s proximity the U.S. aircraft was atypically close.
Russian officials suggested that the Su-27 was deployed to intercept the Poseidon when radars detected the American aircraft over neutral waters heading toward the Russian border.
“After approaching a plane at a safe distance the Russian pilot visually identified the flying object as a U.S, surveillance plane,” the Russian military reported on RT.
Though Kunze said 20 feet is exceptionally close, she added that U.S. aircraft and ships frequently interact with Russian military vehicles.
The commander who deployed the P-8 considered the encounter to be friendly, despite other interactions being considered dangerous from much greater distances.
In February, a Russian patrol plane flew low and close to the USS Porter, followed by three Russian fighter jets. Just a month later, a Russian spy ship was seen off the coast of Georgia. And in late April, U.S. aircraft intercepted two Russian TU-95 Bear bombers off coast of Alaska.