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Moscow Rejects U.S. Accusations Of 'Unsafe' Aircraft Interception Over Mediterranean

Two P-8A Poseidon aircraft (file photo)
Two P-8A Poseidon aircraft (file photo)

Russia's Defense Ministry has rejected a statement by the U.S. Naval Forces' 6th Fleet regarding the interception of a U.S. aircraft over the Mediterranean, which was deemed unsafe.

The U.S. 6th Fleet said in its statement that "a U.S. P-8A Poseidon aircraft flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea was intercepted by a Russian SU-35 three times over the course of 175 minutes," adding that one of the interceptions, which lasted for about 28 minutes, "was determined to be unsafe due to the SU-35 conducting a high-speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, which put our pilots and crew at risk."

"While the Russian aircraft was operating in international airspace, this interaction was irresponsible. We expect them to behave within international standards set to ensure safety and to prevent incidents, including the 1972 Agreement for the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas (INCSEA)," the statement said.

The Defense Ministry in Moscow said on June 5 that all Russian military flights in the Mediterranean "were carried out in accordance with the international rules for the use of airspace."

Russian lawmaker Frants Klintsevich, a member of the State Duma committee for defense and security, said on June 5 that the United States "must get used" to Russia being able to react "in accordance with existing international laws."

"Gentlemen [in the United States], relax and get used to it. And God forbid you come up with a provocation, you may be shot down. Everything will be conducted in accordance with international law," Klintsevich said.

With reporting by TASS and Interfax
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