Dramatic moment Russian SU-35 fighter jet intercepts two American B-52 nuclear bombers over the Baltic Sea
This is the dramatic moment when a Russian fighter jet intercepted a pair of US nuclear bombers over the Baltic Sea just days after a US drone was downed.
Russia’s defense ministry said a single Su-35 had been deployed to meet the B-52 strategic bombers flying towards the Russian border on Monday, but returned to base after they left after a tense confrontation.
The development came as Moscow said it flew two of its own nuclear bombers over the Sea of Japan for more than seven hours, in a statement released as Japan’s prime minister embarked on a surprise visit to Ukraine – and as China’s Prime Minister Xi Jinping announced his own visit to Moscow.
Russia’s Tupolev Tu-95MS aircraft are capable of carrying nuclear weapons, and Moscow regularly flies them over international waters in the Arctic, North Atlantic and Pacific as a show of strength and intimidation tactics.
It also followed the March 14 crash of a US military surveillance drone into the Black Sea after it was intercepted by Russian jets, in the first known direct military encounter between Russia and the US since Russia invaded Ukraine.
This is the dramatic moment a Russian fighter jet intercepted a pair of US nuclear bombers over the Baltic Sea just days after a US drone was downed
Dramatic images purportedly captured from the Su-35 seemed to confirm this on Tuesday. The close-up video showed one of the two US planes hovering above the clouds (pictured)
Length: 159ft 4ins
Maximum speed: 595 mph
Range: 8,000 miles
Payload: 70,000 pounds of bombs
Cost: $84 million
Length: 71ft 10ins
Wingspan: 50ft 2ins
Maximum speed: 2400 km/h
Range: 2,200 miles
Payload: 17,600 lbs
Cost: $43 million
“On March 20, radar facilities of the Air Defense Forces of the Western Military District on duty over the Baltic Sea detected two air targets flying towards the state border of the Russian Federation,” the ministry said in the Telegram messaging app.
It said the targets were U.S. Air Force B52H strategic bombers.
Dramatic images purportedly captured from the Su-35 seemed to confirm this on Tuesday. The close-up video showed one of the two American planes hovering above the clouds.
Earlier, the two American planes were escorted by Polish fighter jets.
Flightradar24 plotted the route of a B52 Stratofortress bomber across Europe on Monday, saying it was flying at 26,500 feet. The route followed from south to north across Spain, bypassing France and then flying over Britain.
It then took to the North Sea, crossing Denmark, flying to Sweden and then Poland, before following the Baltic Sea to Estonia, before returning to itself to fly back to Sweden.
Russia said a Su-35 fighter jet took off to prevent a border violation, adding: “After the foreign military plane left the state border of the Russian Federation, the Russian fighter jet returned to its base airfield.”
The ministry said the Su-35’s flight was in strict compliance with international airspace usage rules. Violating the state border of the Russian Federation was not allowed.
Tensions between Washington and Moscow are at their highest since the Cold War as Vladimir Putin continues his illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine is firmly backed by the US and its NATO allies, with Russia accusing America of waging a proxy war in Ukraine.
The incident involving the Su-35 and B-52s comes a week after two Russian fighter jets shot down a US reaper drone over the Black Sea by dumping fuel on it.
The US criticized Russia for its “reckless” and “unprofessional” attack on a US military incident over international waters, with footage later released by the US European command showing the Russian fighters downing the drone.
In the clip, one of the two Russian jets can be seen flying towards the drone before flying up and dumping fuel on it as it passes the drone. Reportedly, US servicemen stationed in Germany watched a live feed in horror as the event unfolded.
Amid escalating tensions, there have been fears for months that some incident in or over the Black Sea could lead to an escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, which some analysts say could transcend NATO borders.
Another incident that has heightened tensions in Europe is the attacks on the Nord Stream gas pipeline – which connected Germany to Russia’s gas supply before the war – with both sides pointing the finger at the other.
Who exactly was behind the attack remains a mystery, while the investigation is still ongoing.
Meanwhile, Moscow has been working to recover the wreck from the sea after claiming it won the race to find its location.
Russia also said on Tuesday it had flown two of its own nuclear-capable nuclear-capable Tu-95MS ‘Bears’ over the Sea of Japan.
Pictured: The two American nuclear bombers are escorted by a Polish fighter jet
Pictured: A map showing the route of one of the two American B-52 combiners over Europe
Pictured: A selection from a video showing how a Russian fighter jet shot down an American drone last week
The timing of the last flight seemed sharper than usual, as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was later due to arrive in Kiev for a visit to show solidarity with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in the war against Russia.
Japanese national broadcaster NHK showed Kishida boarding a train in the Polish town of Przemysl near the border with Ukraine.
Russia said the strategic bombers were on a “planned flight” escorted by fighter jets. It was conducted in strict accordance with international law and took place over neutral waters, the Defense Ministry said.
In February, North American air defense forces were sent to intercept several Russian strategic bombers and fighter jets as they flew over international airspace near Alaska.
Japan, which has its own territorial dispute with Moscow over North Pacific islands dating back to the end of World War II, is a major Asian ally of the United States and a member of the Group of Seven Wealthy Democracies, and has joined Western sanctions against Russia.
Kishida’s trip to Ukraine also coincides with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Moscow. Washington has denounced Xi’s visit, saying the timing was just days after an international court charged Putin with war crimes indicated Beijing was providing Moscow with “diplomatic cover” to commit further crimes.
The development came as Moscow said it had flown two of its own Tu-95MS nuclear bombers (pictured, file photo) over the Sea of Japan for more than seven hours, in a statement released as Japan’s prime minister embarked on a surprise visit to Ukraine .
It was Xi’s first trip abroad since winning an unprecedented third term last month. The Chinese leader has tried to portray Beijing as a potential peacemaker in Ukraine, even as he deepens economic ties with his closest ally.
Putin and Xi hailed each other as “best friends” when they met at the Kremlin on Monday, and Russian state news agencies later reported that they had held informal talks for nearly 4.5 hours, with more official talks scheduled for Tuesday.
In televised comments, Putin told Xi that he respectfully viewed China’s proposals for a resolution to the conflict in Ukraine. He confessed that he was “somewhat envious” of China’s “highly effective system for developing the economy and strengthening the state.”
Xi, for his part, praised Putin and predicted that the Russians would re-elect him next year.