"For the Russian fighter aircraft to fly this close to the U.S. Navy aircraft, especially for extended periods of time, is unsafe. The crew of the EP-3 reported turbulence following the first interaction, and vibrations from the second", according to a statement from the US Navy.
The US EP-3 Aries was conducting routine operations when it took off from Souda Bay, Greece. The incident reportedly lasted 25 minutes.
The Russian SU-27 jet failed to establish radio contact and made two "really close" passes before engaging afterburners that shook the entire American EP-3 Aries, Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told reporters.
A United States Navy EP-3E Aries II surveilance aeroplane. Washington stated that the SU-27 made a flight in which it broke the sound barrier near the ER-3 and, in its opinion, put at risk the lives of the pilots of the USA aircraft.
USA officials said Russia's military could exercise within global airspace, but the pilot's behaviour was wrong.
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The US Navy also claimed the aircraft had been flying within worldwide law and did not provoke the Russian reaction. "We expect them to behave within global standards set to ensure safety and to prevent incidents ... unsafe actions increase the risk of miscalculation and potential for midair collisions". It posted video, on Twitter, showing an armed Russian fighter jet flying within meters of the spy plane.
A US Navy statement on the incident called the Russian jet's behavior "unsafe".
In January, a Russian fighter flew dangerously close to a US reconnaissance flight over the Black Sea.
The Su-27 then "accompanied it, preventing violations of the border of the airspace of the Russian Federation in compliance with all necessary security measures", the statement added.
Moscow has denied U.S. claims that one of its planes was intercepted over the Black Sea by an Su-27 jet in an "unsafe manner".