Russia scrambles jet to counter US navy presence in Black Sea amid rising tensions

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The Russian Black Sea Fleet picked up the radar signal of the US P-8A Poseidon which is a torpedo-carrying naval attack plane. A Russian advanced fighter jet called the Sukhoi SU-27 scrambled to track the US P-8A Poseidon. US and Russian forces in the Black Sea region are monitoring each other’s movements very closely.

Commander Kyle Raines of the US Navy 6th Fleet said: “US 6th Fleet is aware of Russian units monitoring US units in the Black Sea.

“All interactions were safe and in accordance with a maritime custom as expected.

“We operate within international standards to ensure safety and to prevent incidents, including the 1972 Agreement for the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas (INCSEA), and we expect no different from other navies.”

Speaking to Newsweek on Monday he added: “The US Navy and our partners and allies will operate in international waters anywhere in the world.

“This will be in accordance with international law and norms”.

The US declared it has the right to patrol international waters, including those in the Black Sea.

Washington reiterated it will not be pressured by Russia to desist its patrols in the area.

On Monday US Navy Vice Admiral Gene Black at a press conference said: “We send our ships and aircraft and units all over Europe and Africa, supporting those partnerships and operating in those international waters, and we’ll continue to do so and we’ll continue to do so in the Black Sea in particular.”

US Vice Admiral Gene Black added: “The Black Sea is a vital waterway that is critical to maritime commerce and stability in Europe.”

The scrambling of the Russian Sukhoi SU-27 shows that Moscow is ready to counter any US presence in the region.

The US and its NATO allies were conducting a maritime training exercise called Sea Breeze.

US Navy Commander Kyle Raines added: “Exercise Sea Breeze is a planned, annual exercise conducted in the Black Sea.

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“This year marks the 20th iteration of Sea Breeze.

“The continuation of this exercise program is a visible demonstration of our enduring commitment to work closely with our allies and partners to enhance maritime security in the Black Sea.”

US Black Sea naval drills are extensive and involve co-operation with their NATO associates.

The naval exercises in the Black Sea involve up to 2,000 personnel, 26 ships, and 8 aircraft.

The US P-8A Poseidon indicates the drills included air defence, anti-submarine warfare, damage control, and search-and-rescue operations.

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