Tensions are seemingly always rising between the US and Russia these days, but the latest incident appears to be far more serious, as Russia has released a video showing a US F-16 intercepting the plane of Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu over the Baltic Sea, sparking a tense encounter with a Russian Su-27 fighter jet.
Shoigu’s plane was reportedly carrying the defense minister and a number of reporters to a conference in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, between Poland and Lithuania. The plane was reportedly escorted by a pair of Su-27s, and the F-16 fighters were scrambled, claiming the plane with the DM on board was not identified and they were trying to make a “visual” identification.
When one of the fighters started getting too close to Shoigu’s plane, a Su-27 flew in between the two and tilted its wings, apparently to underscore that it was armed with anti-aircraft weapons, at which time the F-16 flew off.
That’s not sitting well with Russia at all, as Defense Committee chairman Vladimir Shamanov, who was also the former Commander of Russian Airborne Forces, condemned the incident as “military rudeness” on NATO’s part.
Shamanov insisted it should’ve been readily apparent when the F-16 arrived that a civilian plane with an escort of multiple Su-27s was carrying “protected persons,” and that approaching the plane would be considered unacceptable.
Ultimately, Shoigu’s plane was unharmed, and arrived safely in Kaliningrad. The plane returned home to the Russian mainland escorted by a much larger retinue, this time including a number of Su-34 fighter-bombers, among the most advanced warplanes in the Russian fleet. They apparently went unchallenged.
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