A Russian Su-35 fighter jet intercepted a Polish L-410 Turbolet flying over the Black Sea during a routine Frontex patrol mission on Friday and performed ‘aggressive and dangerous’ manoeuvres in its vicinity, Romania’s Defence Ministry announced Saturday.
Russia’s fighter plane intercepted the Polish aircraft on Friday at around 13:20. None of the crew members on board the Polish aircraft were injured.
”The aggressive and dangerous manoeuvres repeatedly performed by the Russian Federation fighter aircraft in the vicinity of the Polish aircraft generated a high level of turbulence and caused major difficulties in controlling the Polish aircraft”, Romania’s Defence Ministry said.
Two Romanian and two Spanish fighter planes were prepared to respond, but their take-off was no longer necessary.
The Polish crew acted ”calmly and professionally in the situation irresponsibly created by the Russian pilot, and were able to fully control the aircraft” after the initial loss of altitude caused by the manoeuvres of the Su-35 aircraft, managing to land safely at Mihail Kogălniceanu Airport, according to the ministry which said it remains in contact with Frontex and Polish authorities to find out all circumstances of the incident.
Between 19 April and 17 May, a Polish L-410 UVP-E20 aircraft was deployed to Romania as part of the Multipurpose Maritime Operation (MMO) Western Black Sea 2023, a joint operation hosted by Romania and coordinated by Frontex. Other participants include Poland, Spain, Sweden and the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).
The Romanian authorities are currently in contact with Frontex and the Polish authorities to investigate this incident’s circumstances.
“The aggressive behaviour of the Russian Federation’s military jets against an unarmed aircraft carrying out a Frontex mission aimed at monitoring the migratory risk in the Black Sea basin is completely unacceptable. This incident is further proof of the provocative approach of the Russian Federation in the Black Sea”, the Defence Ministry said.
The operation, set to last until mid-December this year, focuses on preventing irregular migration, illegal fishing, marine pollution and combatting other cross-border crimes in the Western Black Sea.
(Cătălina Mihai | EURACTIV.ro)
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