Russia Intercepts Three French Warplanes Over Black Sea

Russian Su-27 escorts planes away from the border

The latest in a growing number of confrontations in the Black Sea saw a Russian Su-27 jet intercept three French warplanes that were approaching Russian airspace.

Two French Mirage-2000 jets and a C-135 tanker were caught approaching the Russian border,  and it’s not clear why. Russian officials say they were prevented from crossing the border and escorted away.

Such incidents are not unheard of, as NATO nations, usually the US, will challenge Russia’s defense of its own airspace in the Black Sea. Interceptions are very common, and often lead the US to complain that it is “unprofessional” of Russia to chase them off.

Despite this, Russia’s policy of escorting the planes away mirrors NATO’s own policy toward Russian planes that get too close to NATO airspace. The tit-for-tat interceptions don’t accomplish anything, but continue to happen, with NATO showing its interest mostly in the Black Sea.

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.