Russia Intercepts British Military Planes Over Black Sea

Russia says fighter jets intercepted British planes over Black Sea

Tensions over the Black Sea escalated on Thursday when the Russian defence ministry reported that it scrambled two Su-27 fighter jets to prevent three British military planes from entering Russian airspace.

The Russian defence ministry identified the aircraft as an RC-135 reconnaissance plane and two Typhoon fighter planes. “As the Russian fighters approached, the foreign military aircraft turned away from the state border of the Russian Federation,” the ministry stated. The exact proximity between the Russian and British planes remains unclear.

This incident sheds light on the Black Sea’s growing significance in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which is now approaching the end of its 20th month. On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin amplified concerns when he announced that he had directed Russian planes equipped with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles to conduct patrols over the Black Sea.

Russia says fighter jets intercepted British planes over Black Sea

Two Russian Su-27 jets were scrambled to intercept three British warplanes, Russia claims

Russia’s assertive military posturing in the region isn’t limited to interactions with the UK. The country has previously disclosed multiple instances where its fighter jets were dispatched to intercept military planes from Norway, another NATO member, over the Barents Sea.

Last September, in a more alarming incident, a Russian pilot launched two missiles at an RAF surveillance plane over the Black Sea. The Russian defence ministry later ascribed the act to a “technical malfunction.” The UK’s Ministry of Defence publicly accepted this explanation. The first missile did not hit the RAF aircraft, and the second failed to launch successfully. Had the missile struck its intended target, the ramifications could have been significant, potentially drawing a NATO member into direct military conflict with Russia. That RAF plane, on a surveillance mission in international airspace over the Black Sea, had up to 30 crew members onboard at the time.

The UK Ministry of Defence has yet to comment on Thursday’s interception.

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