Russia intercepts US, Swedish jets over Baltic Sea

Russia intercepts US, Swedish jets over Baltic Sea
© Facebook/Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation

Russia's defense ministry said Monday it intercepted U.S. and Swedish jets over the Baltic Sea, the latest incident amid heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington.

The Russian government said in a statement posted to Facebook that one of its fighter Su-27 aircraft approached the jets "at a safe distance and identified them as a US Air Force RC-135 spy plane and a Swedish Air Force Gulfstream reconnaissance aircraft."

"The Su-27 pilot reported on the identification of foreign reconnaissance aircraft and accompanied them, preventing violations of the Russian airspace borders in compliance with all necessary security measures," the Russian statement added.

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RC-135 aircraft are typically used to collect intelligence.

A U.S. military official told CNN that the incident occurred, but said it was safe and professional.

"A RC-135 was flying a routine mission in international airspace over the Baltic sea. It was intercepted by a Russian Federation SU-27 aircraft. The intercept was deemed safe," a different U.S. official told CNN.

The interception came days after Russian and U.S. warships nearly collided in the Philippine Sea, with the U.S. Navy saying the Russian destroyer approached one of its guided missile cruisers on Friday in an "unsafe and unprofessional" manner.

On Monday, the U.S. officially protested the near-collision, a U.S. official told CNN.

The U.S. 6th fleet said last week that a separate Russian aircraft in international airspace intercepted a U.S. aircraft three times in a three-hour period, according to the network.