Pentagon: Russian jet flies within 5 feet of U.S. Navy plane over Black Sea

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A Russian jet intercepted an American patrol plane flying in international airspace over the Black Sea on Monday, coming within 5 feet of the U.S. aircraft, the Pentagon said.

The U.S. Navy EP-3 Aries aircraft was intercepted by a Russian SU-27 jet, Pentagon spokeswoman Capt. Pamela Kunze said in a statement.

The encounter lasted two hours, 40 minutes, Kunze said. The Russian jet came within 5 feet of the U.S. plane and crossed directly through its flight path, causing the EP-3 to fly through a trail of turbulence.

Kunze said the Russian military is "within its right" to fly in international airspace, but it "must behave within international standards set to ensure safety and prevent incidents.

"Unsafe actions‎ increase the risk of miscalculation and midair collisions," she said.

The Pentagon said the U.S. aircraft was "operating in accordance with international law" and did not provoke Russian activity.

The incident is the latest in a series of close calls between Russian and U.S. aircraft over the Black Sea.

In November 2017, the U.S. military said a Russian fighter jet flew within 50 feet of a Navy reconnaissance plane, causing the aircraft to tilt 15 degrees from the resulting turbulence.

In May 2017, a Russian jet came within 20 feet of a U.S. spy plane over the body of water.

In December, two U.S. F-22A Raptors came in contact with two Russian jets as they crossed a deconfliction line over Syria.

The Pentagon said the U.S. pilots tried to "persuade" the Russian pilots to leave the airspace by releasing flares and making multiple calls on an emergency channel established to avoid conflict between U.S. and Russian forces.