At a moment of heightened tensions and confusion related the weekend events involving the short-lived Wagner uprising against Moscow, Russian and Western fighter planes were involved in an encounter over the Black Sea, which was resolved without serious incident.
A pair of Russian Su-27 fighter jets intercepted two Typhoon fighter jets of Britain’s Royal Air Force, as well as a UK reconnaissance aircraft, over the Black Sea on Monday, according to a Russian defense ministry (MoD) statement.
“Russian airspace control over the Black Sea waters detected three aerial targets approaching the state border of Russia,” the MoD said according to TASS.
“To identify the targets and prevent a violation of the state border, a pair of Su-27 fighters from the air defenses forces [were scrambled],” the ministry said as cited by state news agency TASS,” the statement detailed.
“As Russian fighters approached, the foreign military aircraft made a U-turn from the state border of Russia. The Russian planes returned to their base airfield and violation of the state border was not allowed.”
While these types of intercepts are not uncommon, there’s been an uptick of late over the Black and Baltic Seas amid what’s clearly become a full-blown proxy war pitting Moscow against NATO countries centered in Ukraine.
Things have been particularly tense ever since an American MQ-9 Reaper drone crashed into the Black Sea in March. This happened after Su-27 fighters harassed and clipped it, and at one point one of the Russian fighters dropped fuel on the drone mid-flight.
⚡@mod_russia: On 26 June 2023, Russian airspace control systems detected three aerial targets approaching the state border of the Russian Federation over the Black Sea.
▫️ A pair of Su-27 fighter jets on duty scrambled to identify the aerial targets and prevent violations of… pic.twitter.com/N9HBi956KI
— Russian Embassy, UK (@RussianEmbassy) June 26, 2023
In May, Russia said it scrambled a Su-27 fighter jet “prevent violations of the state border” by a pair of US strategic bombers which were flying over the Black Sea. The Russian military was quick to release video of this newest incident on Monday, which shows Russian fighters escorting the Royal Air Force planes.