US Destroyer Buzzed By Russian Jets

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The Il-38 was followed by two Su-24 fighter-bomber jets and then a single Su-24.

The USS Porter, a guided missile destroyer, was forced to endure potentially unsafe flybys conducted by several different types of Russian aircraft, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

The Russian Defense Ministry said no such incidents had occurred.

"Several incidents by multiple Russian aircraft in the Black Sea near the destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) on February 10 were assessed by the ship's commanding officer as unsafe and unprofessional", Baldanza said. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.

Konashenkov said all Russian "flights were conducted and are being conducted over the neutral waters of the Black Sea in accordance with global rules and safety requirements".

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Konashenkov also suggested U.S. forces shouldn't be surprised to see Russian jets so close to their own national borders. She stressed that the USA destroyer queried all Russian aircraft, but did not receive any answer.

The flybys happened on 10 February as the USS Porter was returning from an exercise with the Romanian navy. U.S. participation "demonstrates the commitment to deploying leading technology and combat capability in support of allies and partners and collective defense of the Black Sea region", the U.S. Navy reported. Overall 16 warships, one submarine, and ten aircraft took part in the drills.

In response, Russian Federation stationed its most modern weaponry and armaments in its western regions, including the exclave of Kaliningrad, which shares a border with Poland and Lithuania, and is carrying out large-scale military drills on home soil, including the Black Sea.

In April a year ago, another US destroyer, the USS Donald Cook was similarly buzzed by two SU-24's, although that incident was allegedly more confrontational than the latest buzzing. Russian officials denied that they had done anything aggressive but still criticized the presence of U.S. ships in the sea, indicating that U.S. -Russia military tension is continuing even under the U.S.'s new, ostensibly Russia-friendly, leadership. Finally, a different Su-24 buzzed the ship, he said.