In 2022 a rogue Russian pilot flying a Su-27 fighter jet tried to “shoot down” an RAF surveillance plane with 30 personnel onboard over international waters of the Black Sea which could have easily “amounted to an act of war” with NATO.
The pilot believed he had permission it has been claimed and fired two missiles, the first misses and was not a malfunction as previously claimed.
The BBC was told that the Russian pilot fired an air-to-air missile which failed to lock on to the RAF plane, meaning it was a miss and not a malfunction the sources have claimed.
The second missile fell from the wing once released, which suggests the weapon had a malfunction or the launch was aborted, the sources told the BBC.
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The second Russian pilot did not have permission and swore at his wingman when he fired the first missile.
However, Yorkshire Party Deputy Chair, David Herdson has warned that should the West continue to turn a blind eye then Russian fighter jets will open fire on the RAF and the outcome will be far worse.
The Express reported that Herdson said, “This came very close to being exceptionally serious.
“Casual commands from the Russians, mixed with pilots’ everyday use of live weapons against live targets, could easily have killed up to 30 RAF personnel.
“That would have brought Article 5 into play.
“The easy response would be withdraw from the area, to avoid the risk of future similar incidents. That would be the wrong call.
“The aircraft there are doing an important job and are also entitled to be there. They cannot be allowed to be chased out by Russian recklessness.
“If the Russians get the message that if pressed hard, NATO will withdraw, then they will press harder – especially when the aircraft in question are capable of actively aiding their enemy. Showing weakness invites them to continue to harass with live fire.”
He added, “Western governments need to prepare for the eventuality of a similar incident ending in a much worse outcome.
“That’s not just about fighters accompanying patrol craft; it’s about what the bigger diplomatic and military response would have to be.
“NATO’s position also needs to be made clear to Moscow. The biggest risk is uncertainty. Russia has talked tough but has generally acted with restraint when put under pressure. As long as it’s known where the line is, it hasn’t crossed it.”
The New York Times reported, “The incident was far more serious than originally portrayed and could have amounted to an act of war.”
The then British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told MPs on 20 October 2022 that this was a “potentially dangerous engagement.”