Loss of U.S. drone clipped by Russian jet was a twist in a broader sample

The forcing down of a U.S. drone by Russian fighter jets over the Black Sea on Tuesday spiraled right into a diplomatic incident and fueled concern concerning the potential for the struggle in Ukraine to escalate into direct battle between the 2 superpowers.

The incident additionally shone mild on a truth of geopolitics that usually receives little consideration: Close calls, some harrowing, between U.S. and Russian plane aren’t uncommon.

The United States and NATO allies typically intercept Russian jets flying near Alaska or to NATO airspace above the Black or Baltic seas. Russia additionally has intercepted American plane in these areas, typically swooping shut sufficient to trigger turbulence.

This week’s incident “follows a pattern of dangerous actions by Russian pilots while interacting with U.S. and allied aircraft over international airspace,” U.S. Air Force Gen. James B. Hecker, commander of the U.S. Air Force in Europe and Africa, stated in an announcement Tuesday.

Crashes prompted throughout intercepts are extraordinarily uncommon, nonetheless, even for unmanned drones. Analysts and officers warn that the struggle in Ukraine has solely heightened the stakes.

The U.S. army launched a video Thursday of what it says is a Russian fighter jet clipping a U.S. surveillance drone. The United States stated the ensuing harm pressured it to carry the drone down into the Black Sea. Moscow has denied that both fighter hit the drone, and blamed the United States for flying the craft too near territory in Crimea that Russia claims to have annexed.

Here’s what to know concerning the historical past of shut encounters between Russia and the United States within the skies.

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