Russian Sukhoi fighters intercepted American spy planes over the Black Sea at least three times in four days between July 23 to 27. Russia scrambled its Sukhoi Su-27 fighters on July 23, 24 and 27 after tracking US P-8A Poseidon surveillance and anti-submarine aircraft flying close to its border on all the three occasions.
According to Russia, all the intercepts by Sukhoi Su-27s were carried over neutral waters of the Black Sea. The Su-27 returned to base after the US P-8A Poseidon turned away from the Russian border.
The Russian Defense Ministry issued a statement giving details of the intercept. "On July 27, 2020, Russian airspace control means spotted an aerial target approaching the Russian state border over the Black Sea neutral waters. A Su-27 fighter jet of the Southern Military District’s air defense forces was scrambled to intercept the target."
"The Su-27 plane’s flight was performed in strict compliance with international rules of the use of airspace. The Russian border was not violated," the statement asserted.
The July 27 intercept comes just three days after a similar incident in the same region involving a Russian Su-27 and US P-8A Poseidon. On July 24, a Su-27 was launched after Russian radars picked up the US P-8A Poseidon flying over the Black Sea. A day earlier, too, there was an aerial intercept involving another Su-27 and P-8A Poseidon.
"The crew of the Russian jet fighter approached the flying object at a safe distance, and identified it as a US P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance plane. After the US plane turned away from the Russian border, the Russian fighter successfully returned to the home airbase," the Defense Minister claimed about the July 23, 2020, incident.
Ukraine Defense Ministry stated that it had conducted the Sea Breeze-2020 multinational military exercises from July 20 to 27 in the Black Sea which involved US warplanes and troops. The nine-country military exercise also saw troops from his France, Spain, Turkey, Bulgaria, Georgia, Norway and Romania.