Multiple western and Russian media outlets are reporting that Russian Su-27 warplanes forced away a NATO F-18 jet after it approached an aircraft carrying Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu over international waters today.
TASS, a Russian news agency reports that Shoigu’s plane was flying from Russia’s Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad to Moscow when the incident occurred. The report says Shoigu’s plane was also carrying a TASS reporter at the time. It did not specify Shoigu’s aircraft type.
Истребитель страны НАТО F-18 попытался приблизиться к борту министра обороны РФ Сергея Шойгу над нейтральными водами Балтийского моря, однако его отогнали российские Су-27:https://t.co/nyPkw52hVj
Видео: ТАСС/Минобороны России pic.twitter.com/DYvJ5cKDSN
— ТАСС (@tass_agency) August 13, 2019
NATO did not immediately comment on the report.
Russian media is reporting the minister’s aircraft was being escorted by two navy Su-27 jet fighters.
TASS earlier reported Shoigu was visiting Kaliningrad for a ceremony marking the start of construction on a branch of the Nakhimov Naval School.
Russian media reported a similar event involving a plane carrying Shoigu in June 2017, saying the minister’s plane was “buzzed” by a NATO jet over the Baltic Sea before being chased away by escort planes.
Encounters between Russian and NATO warplanes has increased as Moscow continues to demonstrate its resurgent military presence in the Arctic.