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Russian Fighter Jet Forced U.S. Plane To Change Course

The Russian Defense Ministry says a U.S. plane was intercepted by an Sukhoi Su-27 fighter over the Baltic Sea. (file photo)

The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed that an incident involving a Russian fighter jet and a U.S. reconnaissance plane took place over the Baltic Sea on April 7, though Moscow and Washington gave differing accounts of what happened.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said the U.S. aircraft, an RC-135, was approaching the Russian border with its transponder switched off before it was intercepted by an Su-27 fighter jet.

Konashenkov said the fighter jet flew around the U.S. plane several times before forcing it to fly off. He said, "U.S. reconnaissance planes can perform routine flights only along U.S. borders."

The U.S. Defense Department said the Russian fighter had flown dangerously close to its plane and nearly collided. Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez called the flight "routine" and said the incident prompted a diplomatic protest.

The episode comes amid heightened tensions over Russian activities in the Baltic region.

This week, five Nordic nations agreed to work more closely on defense after noting increased Russian military activity in the Baltics.

Based on reporting by TASS, Interfax, and