A Polish border guard aircraft on patrol for Frontex, the EU’s border agency, over the Black Sea near Romania nearly missed a collision with a Russian fighter jet on Friday, according to Romania and Poland.
A Russian SU-35 jet made “aggressive and dangerous manoeuvres” as it approached a Polish plane without maintaining a safe distance, which caused turbulence, lost altitude, and the Polish crew temporarily losing control of the plane. A spokesperson for the border patrol, Anna Michalska, posted on Twitter on Sunday.
“The Russian jet flew just in front of the nose of the Polish plane, crossing its trajectory at a dangerous distance, estimated by the crew at about five metres,” Michalska said.
After three approaches the Russian jet flew away, Michalska added. The incident took place in international airspace.
The Romanian Defence Ministry said in a press release that the Russian jet’s behaviour was completely unacceptable.
“This incident is a further proof of the provocative approach of the Russian Federation in the Black Sea,” the ministry said.
Two combat aircraft belonging to the Romanian Air Force and two from the Spanish Air Force designated for Air Police missions were alerted by the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre in Torrejon, Spain. While the four aircraft were ready to intervene at any moment, their intervention proved unnecessary, the ministry said.
“It looks like a planned provocation by Russia, the crew acted responsibly and luckily nothing happened. We can see that Russia is trying to draw international attention by such provocations,” Polish government spokesman Piotr Muller told private television Polsat News on Sunday.