NATO jet approached plane carrying Russian defense minister, reports say

The Washington Post reports: A NATO F-16 fighter approached and was then warned away from a jet carrying Russia’s defense minister, Russian media reported Tuesday, the latest in a string of aerial incidents that have marked rising tensions between the West and Russia.

The incident occurred over the Baltic Sea in northeast Europe, according to reporters traveling with the defense minister, Sergey Shoigu, in international airspace crowded with Russian and NATO jets testing one another’s nerve in close — sometimes dangerously — proximity.

There was no immediate comment from NATO, which has been conducted military exercises in Eastern Europe. The Russian reports did not indicate which nation was flying the NATO warplane.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon claimed an armed Russian Su-27 buzzed an American RC-135 reconnaissance plane, closing to a distance of five feet. U.S. officials told Fox News that the maneuver was “provocative.” Russian officials blamed the pilot of the spy plane.

But no incidents yet have involved high-ranking members of the Russian or U.S. armed forces on board. [Continue reading…]

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