US releases photos of 'unsafe' Russian jet intercept

Russia government plane approached by NATO jet

A Russian fighter jet seen over the wing of a U.S. RC-135 flying in global airspace over the Baltic.

On Wednesday, Sweden summoned Russia's ambassador after another SU-27 jet flew close to a Swedish Gulfstream reconnaissance plane over the Baltic.

A North Atlantic Treaty Organisation F-16 fighter jet approached and was then warned away from a jet carrying Russia's defence minister, Russian media reported Wednesday, the latest in a string of aerial incidents that have marked rising tensions between the West and Russia.

On Wednesday, June 21, Poland's F-16 Viper fighter intercepted a Russian Tu-154 VIP aircraft carrying Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Shoigu also said "some countries" are using "political, information and economic pressure", as well as "military force", as tools "for achieving geopolitical goals" - likely a reference to the United States, and Washington's sanctions on Russian Federation and military operations in support of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

"It is related to the growing military activity of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries in Eastern Europe", Shoigu said.

A European Command photo shows the Russian Su-27 fighter jet that flew within five feet of a US Air Force RC-135 recon aircraft over the Baltic Sea on Monday.

A week ago, the Defense Ministry reported 18 such incidents.

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U.S. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said the American plane "did nothing to provoke this behavior", Reuters added.

Shoigu said the large-scale drills reflect NATO's "anti-Russian course".

Russian fighter jets routinely approach and identify aircraft in the skies over the Baltic and Kaliningrad, but most of these actions stay within safe limits.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation confirmed the intercept, saying in an emailed statement that "three Russian aircraft, including two fighters", had been tracked over the Baltic Sea.

"While being escorted, the RC-135 attempted to move closer to the Russian interceptor, making a provocative turn towards the Su-27", the MoD said in a statement.

The images also confirm that the Russian jet was armed.

The Baltic Sea has become an area of rising tensions between Moscow and the Western military alliance.

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