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Published in Stream:
Ukraine Live Day 418
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Russian Jet Nearly Crashes With American Military Airplane, And RT Debunks Kremlin Narrative
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A Russian fighter jet nearly collided with a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft over the Baltics earlier this week. Free Beacon reports:

The Su-27 conducted the close-in intercept of an RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace over the Baltic Sea on Tuesday, said officials. The incident prompted a diplomatic protest.

“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,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen M. Lainez.

“The United States is raising this incident with Russia in the appropriate diplomatic and official channels,” she said in a statement.

A defense official said the Russian fighter jet flew within 20 feet of the unarmed reconnaissance jet in what the official called a “reckless” encounter that endangered the lives of the RC-135 crew.

No details were available regarding the mission of the RC-135, which was in a position to monitor Russian military activities in western Russia and Kaliningrad.

The Russian military has confirmed the incident, but has thrown out their own counter-narrative: that the Russian fighter "intercepted" the American aircraft which had its transponder turned off. The Kremlin-operated propaganda outlet RT leads with this headline: "US recon aircraft intercepted by Russian fighter jet over Baltic - Pentagon."

[Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen M. Lainez] said that a Russian Su-27 (NATO designation – Flanker) passed within a half-dozen meters of the unarmed reconnaissance aircraft, whereas the Sukhoi’s wingspan is 14.7 meters. The Pentagon spokeswoman dubbed the behavior of Russian pilot “reckless” and endangering the safety of the RC-135 crew.

Major-General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said that the interception was launched after “Russian air defense radars spotted an unidentified air target over the Baltic Sea making steady progress toward the national border.” The aircraft had its transponder turned off, Konashenkov said.

But this is where the story gets even more interesting -- in RT's next paragraph, they debunk the Russian Defense Ministry's claim:

However, Flightradar24 website says the transponder was on. 

It appears as though the RT story may have been updated upon receiving the tweet from Flightradar24, but either way it is curious that the Russian propaganda outlet -- infamous for, among other things, being extremely slow to correct errors in their reporting -- would appear to be so quick to counter the narrative of the Russian government.

-- James Miller