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U.S., Russian planes have close encounters over Mediterranean, Pentagon says

U.S. officials said no one was injured in the weekend incidents but that the "intercepts" by Russian aircraft were “unprofessional.”
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As U.S.-Russia tensions over Ukraine simmer, three U.S. Navy surveillance planes had close encounters with multiple Russian jets above the Mediterranean Sea over the weekend, according to the Defense Department.

Such “intercepts” happen frequently, said two U.S. officials, but they are usually deemed safe and/or professional. The officials said no one was injured in the weekend incidents but that this time the intercepts were “unprofessional.”

In a statement, a Navy spokesman, Capt. Mike Kafka, said: “We can confirm that over the course of last weekend, three U.S. Navy P-8A aircraft experienced unprofessional intercepts by Russian aircraft. The U.S. flight crews were flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea at the time of these intercepts. We have made our concerns known to Russian officials through diplomatic channels.

“While no one was hurt, interactions such as these could result in miscalculations and mistakes that lead to more dangerous outcomes. The U.S. will continue to operate safely, professionally and consistent with international law in international waters and airspace. We expect Russia to do the same.”

The P-8A is a maritime patrol plane similar to a Boeing 737.