US Faults Russia for ‘Unsafe’ Interception of B-52 Bomber Over Black Sea

Air Force says Russia risked a midair collision

The US Air Force is complaining about Friday’s interception of a US B-52 Stratofortress bomber by the Russian military. The bomber was intercepted when it was in the Black Sea, approaching Russia.

The Air Force says the interception was “unsafe” and risked a midair collision. Russia has not addressed this directly, but likely has a lot of experience intercepting planes in the Black Sea, as they’ve been intercepting US spy planes at least twice a week for the past few months there.

Interceptions are common enough, but they are almost always of spy planes getting a bit close for comfort to the other side’s borders. That the US plane in this case was a long-range strategic bomber puts it into a different category, and likely raised more alarm from the Russians.

US officials said the plane was meant to “demonstrate NATO solidarity,” but that was the mission for entering the airspace of every NATO member, which Russia clearly is not. They didn’t explain why they were hanging around in Russia’s vicinity, except for the obvious possibility that they were there to participate in an incident that Air Force generals could then complain about.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.