U.S. Military European Command has said that the U.S. aircraft, a militarised Boeing 707 was barrel-rolled by a Russian jet over the Baltic Sea during a routine flight in international airspace on April 14.
Danny Hernandez, a spokesman for U.S. Military’s European Command said in a CNN report that the incident occurred when a Russian jet “performed erratic and aggressive maneuvers” as it flew within 50 feet of the U.S. aircraft’s wing tip.
Hernandez added that the Russian SU-27 began the barrel roll from the left side of the U.S. RC-135 and went over the top of it to end on the right side of the aircraft.
He said, “There have been repeated incidents over the last year where Russian military aircraft have come close enough to other air and sea traffic to raise serious safety concerns, and we are very concerned with any such behaviour.”
“The unsafe and unprofessional actions of a single pilot have the potential to unnecessarily escalated tensions between countries,” Hernandez said adding that the U.S. is protesting the incident with the Russian government.
Last week, Russian jets had repeatedly buzzed American missile destroyer the USS Donald Cook in what the U.S. officials had called a “simulated attack profile.”
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow had lodged a formal complaint with the Russian government over the incident, that was eventually brushed off by Russia.
In a statement following the earlier incident, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had said, “We condemn this kind of behaviour. It is reckless. It is provocative. It is dangerous. And under the rules of engagement that could have been a shoot-down. People need to understand that this is serious business and the United States is not going to be intimidated on the high seas.”
Kerry added, “We are communicating to the Russians how dangerous this is and our hope is that this will never be repeated.” READ MORE