Pentagon: Interaction With Russian Plane Not a Real ‘Exercise’

Russia Says Air Crews Cooperated on Close Encounters

Russian officials announced a three minute “interaction” between US and Russian planes inside Syria, with air crews practicing for scenarios in which the two nations’ warplanes are in close encounters in Syrian airspace, dubbing it a brief “joint exercise.”

Pentagon officials confirmed the interaction, and basically the entirety of the Russian story, but in an apparent effort to continue to be disagreeable about the matter, they insisted that the 3-minute-long test did not officially count as a “military exercise” by US standards.

Since Russia began its own air war against ISIS in Syria last month, they’ve sought deals with the US to limit the risk of the two nations’ planes running afoul of one another. The US has mostly spurned those offers, allowing only very limited interaction while mocking Russia’s military as “unprofessional.”

The interaction still shows that there is at least some effort to prevent the two nations getting into direct conflict over Syria, though there appears to still be substantial acrimony on the matter, particularly among US officials resentful of Russia joining the war.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of