British reconnaissance aircraft are now flying with fighter jet escorts, Defence Minister reveals
A Russian Su-27 fighter jet fired a missile near a British Boeing RC-135 reconnaissance plane over international waters in the Black Sea, Defense Minister Ben Wallace told the UK’s Parliament on Thursday.
According to Wallace, the incident was accidental and Moscow blamed it on a technical malfunction. He added that London had accepted this explanation.
The run-in between the spy plane and the fighter jet occurred on September 29. Following the incident, London temporarily suspended patrols and expressed concerns to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, Wallace noted.
“A reply by the Russian Minister of Defense on the 10th of October, stated that they have conducted an investigation into the circumstances of the incident and stated it was a technical malfunction of the Su-27 fighter,” he revealed, adding that Moscow “acknowledged that the incident took place in international airspace.”
British spy planes are now flying with fighter jet escorts to provide them with better security, the minister noted.
So far, Russia has remained silent on the alleged run-in and has not produced any public statements on the incident.
In 2021, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, the number of reconnaissance flights staged by NATO in the Black Sea Region increased by more than 60% compared to 2020.
The latest encounter involving British aircraft took place last August when a MiG-31BM interceptor chased an RC-135 surveillance plane from Russian airspace over the Barents Sea near the city of Murmansk.
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