“An Su-27 fighter jet, as part of the Southern Military District’s air defenses, was scrambled to intercept the target,” the Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday, adding, “The crew flew the aircraft at a safe distance to the aerial target and identified it as a US P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance jet.”
The Su-27 forced the US aircraft to “immediately” change the direction of its flight to turn away from the Russian border.
The interception reportedly occurred on July 3 near the Crimean Peninsula, formerly part of Ukrainian territory but now part of Russia’s.
US forces are currently taking part in NATO naval drills in the Black Sea. The 12-day exercises officially began on July 1 in the northwestern part of the sea with some 3,000 servicemen from 19 countries, including the US, the UK, and Ukraine.
Russia has been closely monitoring the aircraft and the vessels participating in the drill. On Tuesday, the Russian military tracked a British destroyer and a Canadian frigate as they entered the Black Sea waters.
Moscow has time and again expressed its concern about the increasing presence and activities of the US-led NATO near Russia’s western borders.