The political tensions between the US and Russia continue to rise, with the latest case of a “sloppy” mid-air intervention leading to an exchange between the two super powers.
According to a report by Reuters, the United States said it has expressed its concerns to Moscow over a Russian fighter jet’s “sloppy” and unsafe intercept of a U.S. spy plane in international airspace.
The reported incident took place on April 7 over the Baltic Sea and involved a Russian SU-27 Flanker which went on to intercept a U.S. RC-135U reconnaissance plane. What followed is a performance which has been described by the Pentagon as resulting in unsafe aerial manoeuvers.
According to Reuters, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said that the Russian aircraft did a roll in front of the U.S. aircraft and showed its belly to the pilot to indicate that it was armed. In performing the roll Warren said that the Russian pilot potentially risked a collision with the U.S. plane.
“(It’s) uncertain why this pilot was such a sloppy aviator. Could be that he wasn’t very well trained. Could be that he wanted to prove something. Either way, this is a fairly isolated incident,” said Warren.
The mid-air incident is merely another example of how the relationship between the US and Russia continues to deteriorate further, with no thaw in sight on either side currently.
The US and many other western states including the UK, have seen their relationship with Russia go bad thanks to a series of events which have included the wests opposition to the involvement of Russia in the conflict in the Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea, while increased Russian military activity in the Baltics has added to tensions.
“The unsafe and unprofessional actions of a single pilot have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez according to Reuters.
In late March, Swedish fighters intercepted four Russian planes flying in international air space over the Baltic sea with their transponders turned off. This incident led to Warren telling reporters that the U.S. plane’s transponder was functioning, saying that the U.S. plane “was operating in accordance with international civil aviation rules of flight.”
The State Department said the matter was being raised “in the appropriate official and diplomatic channels.”
However it is being dealt with, what is certain is that incidents such as this do not go any way in helping to build better relations between the west and Russia.