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Russia Blames U.S. For Near Miss Over Syria

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov (file photo)

A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman has blamed U.S. forces for a near-miss of planes over Syria earlier this month.

U.S. officials said this week that a Russian plane came close enough to a warplane from the U.S.-led coalition for its wake to be felt by the other pilot.

The officials said the incident, which occurred October 17, did not appear to be threatening, but rather caused by the Russian pilot losing "situational awareness."

But Major General Igor Konashenkov on October 29 dismissed that assertion, saying an American E-3 radar plane had unexpectedly descended during the October 17 incident.

He said that brought the American plane within 500 meters of a Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jet.

With scores of aircraft flying sorties over Syria, the Russian and U.S. military operations in Syria have communication procedures to reduce the risk of mishaps or midair collisions.

Still, the incident also follows more intentional close encounters between Russian and American planes.

Last month, a Russian fighter jet came within 10 feet of an American spy plane over the Black Sea.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, Interfax