A reconnaissance plane for the U.S. Air Force was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 last week over the Baltic Sea, according to the Pentagon. The RC-130 was apparently flying routine routes over Northern Europe before it encountered the Russian fighter plane.
"The U.S. aircraft was operating in international airspace and at no time crossed into Russian territory," Laura Seal, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said of Thursday's incident. "This unsafe and unprofessional air intercept has the potential to cause serious harm and injury to all aircrews involved."
Earlier last week Russian aircraft embarrassed the U.S. Navy by repeatedly buzzing the USS Donald Cook, including an incident Tuesday in which a Russian Su-24 flew 30 feet above the war ship in a "simulated attack profile," according to the US military's European Command.
"There have been repeated incidents over the last year where Russian military aircraft have come close enough to other air and sea traffic to raise serious safety concerns, and we are very concerned with any such behavior," the Pentagon said.
One defense official called Russia's recent actions "more aggressive than anything we've seen in some time."
Tensions between the United States and Russia continue to grow to heights not seen since the Cold War while Russia's relationship with Iran only strengthens.