Two Russian planes made an "unsafe and unprofessional" intercept of a US surveillance aircraft flying in international airspace on Tuesday, in what was the third time in two months, according to the US Navy. A pair of videos show Russian SU-35 fighter jets flying on either side of a US P-8A Poseidon plane assigned to the US 6th Fleet over the eastern Mediterranean Sea. "The intercept was determined to be unsafe and unprofessional due to the Russian pilots taking close station on each wing of the P-8A simultaneously, restricting the P-8A's ability to safely maneuver," the Navy says in a statement, per CBS News. It adds that the incident, extending a little over an hour, "follows two unsafe interactions in April, over the same waters."
Officials reported that Russian SU-35s intercepted US P-8A aircraft on April 15 and April 19. The Navy said the SU-35s had flown 25 feet directly in front of the US aircraft, exposing it to wake turbulence. Commander of US European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Tod Wolters later said the US had "initiated a conversation with the powers to be in Moscow" over the incident, believed to be tied to Russia's military operations in Syria, per CNN. "In all cases, the US aircraft were operating in international airspace, consistent with international law, with due regard for safety of flight, and did not provoke this Russian activity," the Navy says. It adds the Russian pilots "jeopardized the safety of flight of both aircraft." (Read more Russia stories.)