The tit-for-tat probing of borders and airspace between the US and Russia has continued, and now this week there's been no less than three Russian intercepts of American spy planes over the Black Sea.
Reuters reports of the latest on Friday:
The Russian defense ministry said it had sent an Su-27 fighter plane on Friday to intercept a U.S. surveillance plane over the Black Sea, prompting it to change course away from the Russian border, Russian news agencies reported.
Two similar incidents were reported earlier this week over the Black Sea.
Russian MoD statements said there were two American military planes, with one likely being a smaller fighter jet escort to the larger spy plane.
"The crew of the Russian jet fighter approached the air targets at a safe distance and identified them as a US RC-135 US Air Force recon plane and a P-8A US Navy patrol plane," TASS cited military officials as saying. Both sides acknowledged the incident took place over neutral waters.
This comes after a spate of such close aerial encounters throughout June and July. The past two months have witnessed a noticeable uptick.
Most close encounters have taken place off Alaska's coast, as well as over the Black and Baltic Seas, as well as the Mediterranean near Syria, and lately perhaps more rare over the Seas of Japan and over the remote Sea of Okhotsk just off the Russian far east.