A Russian fighter aircraft intercepted a US surveillance aircraft over the Pacific Ocean as the Russian military conducted large-scale maneuvers in the area.
Russian military scrambled a Su-35 fighter jet to escort the US spy plane
In a recently published article in Newsweek, Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday that "an air target approaching the state border of the Russian Federation was detected by Russian airspace control over the Pacific Ocean."
This target turned out to be a US Air Force RC-135 strategic reconnaissance plane. In response, the Russian military sent a Su-35 fighter jet to escort the inbound aircraft away, according to a published report in Washington News Today.
The RC-135 subsequently made a U-turn away from Russian airspace, and "violations of the Russian Federation's State boundary were not permitted," according to the statement. The Su-35, for its part according to the US, "operated in complete accordance with international airspace norms."
Operational exercise of Russia in Asia
The latest incident occurred as the Russian Defense Ministry announced that an operational exercise of forces of the Pacific Fleet is being conducted in the central stretch of the ocean, some 4,000 kilometers, or nearly 2,500 miles, from the home bases of the vessels being deployed.
Up to 20 surface warships, submarines, and support vessels are expected to participate in the exercises, including the Slava-class cruiser Varyag missile cruiser, the large anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Panteleev, the Udaloy-class frigate Marshal Shaposhnikov, the corvettes Gromky, Sovershenny, and Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov, and the missile range instrumentation ship Marshal Krylov, according to a published report in Democratic Underground.
There were roughly 20 aircraft in the sky as well, including long-range anti-submarine aircraft Tu-142MZ, high-altitude fighter-interceptors MiG-31BM, and other aircraft. In one aerial maneuver, a Russian Il-38N anti-submarine aircraft performed operations in Avacha Bay including "search, classification, and tracking of simulated enemy submarines."
Russia's exercise took place before Biden and Putin meeting next week
Russia's Pacific maneuvers are also taking place in the run-up to the highly anticipated first meeting between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which is due to take place next Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland. Both leaders have attempted to mend tense ties between their countries, although they remain critical of one another's policies.
Biden told US Air Force personnel stationed at Royal Air Force Mildenhall in the United Kingdom that the US did not want to have a conflict with Russia. He emphasized that both countries have responsibilities, including keeping stability and following arms control agreements. Biden said, "I take that responsibility seriously," according to a published article in MSN News.
However, Pres. Joe Biden then added a warning about what Washington perceives as aggressive conduct by Moscow, including claims of political meddling and cyberattacks on the US and its allies.
Meanwhile, during a press conference the next day in Washington, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki emphasized Biden and Putin's extensive experience dealing with one another, noting that Biden previously served as vice president and Putin has been in power as either president or prime minister for the past two decades.