Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov has dismissed the U.S.' allegations that a Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter flew dangerously close to a U.S. RC-135U reconnaissance aircraft over the Baltic Sea while intercepting it on April 7.
"No incidents occurred during the intercept of the U.S. reconnaissance plane," Konashenkov told Interfax on Saturday.
"The U.S. Air Force's RC-135U flew near Russian borders with its transponder switched off - the matter that our NATO partners have lately been so much concerned about," he said.
"As for judgments about professionalism of our pilots, this is exclusively within the Russian command's purview," Konashenkov said.
"And besides, U.S. reconnaissance aircraft can fly 'routine' routes only near the U.S. borders," he said.
Pentagon spokesperson Eileen Lainez said earlier in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon: "On the morning of April 7th, a U.S. RC-135U flying a routine route in international airspace was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 Flanker in an unsafe and unprofessional manner."
Konashenkov said in commenting on this report that, "At 1:18 p.m. Moscow time on April 7, 2015, air defense forces on duty detected an unidentified aerial target over the Baltic Sea, which was confidently moving toward the Russian state border."
"A Su-27 fighter on duty was scrambled, approached the unidentified aircraft, flew around it several times, identified it as an RC-135U reconnaissance aircraft belonging to the U.S. Air Force and read its side number, and reported it to the command. After having been intercepted by the Russian fighter, the U.S. Air Force aircraft changed its course and moved away from the Russian border," Konashenkov said.
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