The Russian Air Force scrambled a Su-27 fighter plane today to intercept an American long-range bomber that was flying over the Baltic Sea very close to Russian airspace. The bomber was a B-52, and was described as flying a long distance “parallel” to the Russian border.
The Su-27 was dispatched from Baltic Fleet air defense, which is located in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, and intercepted the B-52, remaining in close proximity to it until the bomber changed course and flew away from the Russian border.
US officials declined specific comments on the incident, apart from confirming the B-52 was in the area, and insisting that it was always “operating in international airspace” during the course of the incident. NATO warplanes often scramble into international airspace to confront Russian bombers in a similar way.
Russian officials complained that the US has been deploying more B-52s in the region recently, warning it was not helping to deescalate tensions in Eastern Europe, and former Air Force Commander Pyotr Deinekin insisted the proximity of the nuclear-capable bomber to Russia’s coast raises troubling questions, irrespective of if it turns out it was armed with nuclear weapons or not.