Russia scrambled Sukhoi “Su-27” fighter jet on Tuesday ordered to intercept a U.S. “B-52” strategic bomber which it said was flying close to its border over the Baltic Sea.
Russia’s Defence Ministry said in a statement: “Russian air defence systems detected the bomber at around 10 a.m. Moscow time as it was flying over neutral waters parallel to the Russian border.
“The Russian SU-27 crew, having approached at a safe distance, identified the aircraft as an American B-52 strategic bomber and escorted it” until the time it changed course and flew away from the border area.
“The SU-27 had been scrambled from its Baltic Fleet air defense unit which is based in Kaliningrad,’’ the ministry said.
The B-52 “Stratofortress,” a long-range nuclear-capable bomber, is one of the most recognisable symbols of the Cold War and entered service in the 1950s.
In another sign of Moscow’s unease over NATO’s proximity to its borders, Russia also scrambled a MiG-31 jet fighter later on Tuesday to intercept a Norwegian patrol plane over the Barents Sea.
Russia’s Defence Ministry identified the plane as a “P-3” Orion anti-submarine aircraft.
The ministry said that the Norwegian plane had flown close to Russia’s state border with its transponders switched off.
The Norwegian military confirmed the encounter and said it was “normal”.