Venezuelan jet 'aggressively shadowed' Navy aircraft: Pentagon

Venezuelan jet 'aggressively shadowed' Navy aircraft: Pentagon
© Getty

The U.S. military said that a Venezuelan fighter plane made an “unsafe approach” to a U.S. Navy plane in international airspace in an announcement Sunday.

In a statement on the incident, which occurred on Friday, the Pentagon claimed a “Russian-made” SU-30 Flanker Venezuelan fighter aircraft endangered the crew of a US Navy EP-3 Aries II aircraft during a “detection and monitoring” mission.


"After reviewing video documentation, we have determined the Russian-made fighter aggressively shadowed the EP-3 at an unsafe distance in international airspace for a prolonged period of time, endangering the safety of the crew and jeopardizing the EP-3 mission," the statement from US Southern Command read.

In response, Venezuela’s own military said the U.S. plane had violated "security of air operations and international treaties.”

“This action demonstrates #Russia’s irresponsible military support to [President Nicolás] Maduro's illegitimate regime & underscores Maduro’s recklessness & irresponsible behavior, which undermines int’l rule of law & efforts to counter illicit trafficking,” Southern Command tweeted.

The incident is the latest salvo in tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Russian support for Maduro’s government, while the U.S. has recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg's activism: Study economics and then 'come back' to us The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial MORE has claimed the Kremlin has withdrawn from the South American nation, which Russia has denied.