Russian fighters Su-27P and Su-30SM identified and escorted strategic bombers of the US Air Force B-1B over the Black and Baltic Seas. This was reported by the press service of the Ministry of Defense.
“On May 29, 2020, the air defense duty forces of the Western and Southern military districts timely revealed the actions of the US Air Force B-1B strategic bombers over the neutral waters of the Black and Baltic Seas and escorted them by Russian fighters,” the statement said.
The ministry emphasized that Russian radar controls continuously escorted American bombers, and to intercept targets, Su-27P and Su-30SM fighters, which are part of the air defense duty forces of the Southern Military District, were raised.
Russian military aircraft approached the American B-1B at a safe distance for their identification, after which the US strategic aviation aircraft changed direction, starting to move away from the state border of the Russian Federation.
“Flights of Russian combat aircraft took place strictly in accordance with international airspace use regulations. After completing the task, the Russian fighters returned safely to the airfields, ”the Ministry of Defense said.
We add on the website of the US Air Force command in Europe and Africa published material saying that two American B-1B Lancer bombers, flying from a base in South Dakota, flew over Europe and the Black Sea. At various stages of the route, the bombers were accompanied by Ukrainian Su-27 and MiG-29, Turkish KS-135, Polish F-16 and MiG-29, Romanian F-16 and MiG-21 and Greek F-16.
“Bomber flights over Europe demonstrate US commitment to supporting allies and partners and at the same time clearly tell any enemy our readiness to deter,” said Air Force Commander in Europe and Africa General Jeffrey Harrigian.
Moscow has repeatedly noted that such flights near the borders of Russia create tension. So, only in April there were two such episodes.
On April 19, the Russian Su-35 took off from the Hmeimim airbase in Syria to identify an aerial target, which turned out to be a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft. He followed over the neutral waters of the Mediterranean Sea towards Russian facilities in Syria.
“After a rapprochement, a Russian fighter pilot identified the side number and aircraft belonging to the US Navy and took him to escort,” the department said.
The Ministry of Defense emphasized that the fighter returned to the airfield after changing the course by US aircraft, and all flights of the Russian Aerospace Forces are in strict accordance with international rules for using airspace over neutral waters. At the same time, the 6th fleet of the US Navy announced allegedly unsafe actions on the part of the Russian Su-35.
A few days later, on April 25, two Russian Su-27 fighters escorted the Belgian Air Force F-16 aircraft. This happened during the scheduled flights of the Baltic Fleet naval aviation crews over the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea. Russian pilots approached a foreign aircraft, identified it, after which the F-16 changed course in the direction from the border of the Russian Federation. Later, the crew of the Su-27 returned to the original tasks.
Moreover, as follows from the infographic of the Ministry of Defense, published in the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper, over the past week alone, 21 foreign aircraft and five unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) conducted intelligence activities near the borders of the Russian Federation. Along with this, the Russian airborne fighters from the air defense duty personnel rose three times to intercept them.
Note that in February, when two Tu-160 missile carriers of the Russian airborne air forces performed a scheduled flight over the neutral waters of the Barents and Norwegian Seas, as well as the Arctic Ocean, the Joint Aerospace Defense Command of North America reacted to maneuvers, calling the flight an “aggressive step”.
“Our adversary continues to demonstrate his long-range weapons systems and is taking more and more aggressive steps, including approaching the United States and Canada,” said Command Head General Terrence O'Shaughnessy.
The Russian Defense Ministry noted that long-range aviation pilots regularly perform tasks on the neutral waters of the Arctic, Atlantic, Black and Baltic Seas, as well as the Pacific Ocean.