A Russian military jet performed an unsafe intercept of a US Navy P-3 Orion surveillance plane while it was flying in international airspace over the Black Sea Monday, three defense officials told CNN.
The American pilots reported that the Russian jet came within five feet of the US plane, according to two of the officials.
The Russian jet’s action forced the US Navy aircraft to end its mission prematurely, one of the officials said.
Several unsafe interactions between Russian and US military forces have taken place near the Black Sea.
Russian, US and NATO forces operate in close proximity to one another in the area, particularly since Russia boosted its military presence in the region following its annexation of Crimea in 2014.
The US Navy has also upped its presence in the area in recent years.
A Russian Su-30 fighter jet made an “unsafe” intercept of a US P-8A Poseidon aircraft in November while it was flying over the Black Sea.
The last reported incident between US and Russian aircraft took place in the skies over Syria, when US F-22s intercepted Russian attack jets after they flew over the de-confliction line intended to ensure safety.