: Reuters: Russia's military rejects U.S. criticism of new Baltic encounter

16:38 Apr. 17, 2016

Reuters: Russia's military rejects U.S. criticism of new Baltic encounter

Helicopters are seen during a joint Russian-Belarussian military exercise at the polygon on September 26, 2013 in Grodno, Belarus. (Getty Images)

U.S. reported earlier Russian jet incident in Baltic Sea

Russia's military rejected criticism by U.S. European Command on Sunday that a Russian jet had made aggressive manoeuvres near a U.S. reconnaissance plane over the Baltic Sea, a second incident in the region between the Cold War-era foes in the past week.

Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia's military has been beefed up by increased spending and ambitious rearmament, while Moscow, which accuses NATO of expanding towards Russia's borders, tries to pursue a more assertive foreign policy.

The latest incident occurred on Thursday as a Russian Su-27 fighter "performed erratic and aggressive manoeuvres", flying within 50 feet of a U.S. RC-135 aircraft, U.S. European Command spokesman Danny Hernandez said, replying to a question from CNN.

Read also Pentagon reports another Russian jet incident in Baltic Sea

"The United States had protested to Moscow," Hernandez said. "The unsafe and unprofessional actions of a single pilot have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries," 

Russia dismissed the report as "running counter to reality", saying its air defences had had to scramble a fighter jet after detecting a high-speed unidentified target over the Baltic Sea heading for its borders.

Read also Russian jets repeating 'aggressive maneuvers' over U.S. warship in Baltic Sea

After making "visual contact" with the Russian Su-27, the American reconnaissance plane changed its course away from Russia's borders, defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.

That incident occurred just two days after two Russian Su-24 bombers buzzed the Donald Cook, a U.S. guided missile destroyer, in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday, simulating attack passes, with a U.S. military official describing them as one of the most aggressive interactions in recent memory.

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