Russia Claims Another USAF Intercept Over the Black Sea

Russia purportedly intercepted a U.S. Air Force RC-135 surveillance plane and a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft over the Black Sea on July 30.

A Russian Su-27 fighter came toward the American aircraft “at a safe distance” before identifying them, the Russian Defense Ministry wrote in a Facebook post published the same day. Once the U.S. aircraft steered away from the Russian border, the fighter departed.

Neither American aircraft crossed the Russian border, noted the post, which included a 36-second video that appeared to depict both aircraft.

On July 30, 2020, two air targets were detected approaching the state border of the Russian Federation by Russian means…Posted by Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation on Thursday, July 30, 2020

U.S. Air Forces in Europe would neither confirm nor deny the authenticity of the Russian claim or footage.

“Our aircraft routinely interact with Russian units in international airspace and most interactions are safe and professional,” USAFE spokesperson Erica Vega wrote in a July 31 email to Air Force Magazine. “Unless an interaction is unsafe, we will not discuss specific details.”

This is at least the third alleged intercept of a USAF RC-135 aircraft over the Black Sea in about a month. Russia made similar claims on July 14 and June 26