Fri May 12, 2017 02:06PM
In this photo provided by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service a Russian Su-30 fighter jet takes off at Hemeimeem air base in Syria on March 16, 2016. (Photo by AP)
In this photo provided by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service a Russian Su-30 fighter jet takes off at Hemeimeem air base in Syria on March 16, 2016. (Photo by AP)

The Russian Defense Ministry says an Su-30 aircraft has intercepted a US surveillance plane over the Black Sea while it was approaching the Russian border earlier this week.

The incident took place at about 0900 GMT on May 9, the anniversary of the Victory Day in the Great Patriotic War, which marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in 1945, the ministry said on Friday.

"After approaching a plane at a safe distance the Russian pilot visually identified the flying object as a US surveillance plane P-8A Poseidon," the Russian defense ministry stated.

It said Russian radars detected an aerial target over neutral waters of the Black Sea, adding that the Russian pilot “greeted” the American pilots with a special maneuver, prompting the surveillance aircraft to change its course away from Russia's border.

According to the defense ministry, the Su-30 fighter jet later returned to the base safely.

Earlier, the NBC reported that a Russian Su-27 jet had come within seven meters of a US plane over the neutral waters of the Black Sea.

The NBC quoted Captain Pamela Kunze, a spokeswoman for the US Naval Forces Europe, as saying that the aircraft was "conducting routine operations in international airspace." She described the interception as "safe and professional."

The undated photo shows a US Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft. (Photo by Reuters)

The incident comes about a week after the United States intercepted Russian jets and bombers while they were conducting routine flights near Alaska, describing the move as "unproblematic."

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the flights in no way violate international rules or any country's borders, and similar missions are conducted over the Atlantic and the Arctic Oceans as well as the Black Sea.

In April, two US Air Force F-22 Raptor aircraft intercepted Russian TU-95 Bear bombers within 160 kilometers of Alaska's Kodiak Island, a Pentagon official said.

Pentagon spokesman Commander Gary Ross said the American stealth aircraft escorted the Russian long-range bombers for 12 minutes before they reversed course and headed back to their base in eastern Russia, adding that the interception was "safe and professional," and there was no violation of the US airspace.

In February, Britain scrambled its fighter jets to intercept two Russian bombers in the international airspace, claiming that they were flying on the edge of British territories.

Russia has frequently expressed surprise about such attention given by NATO members to routine missions.