A Russian fighter jet fired a missile at and RAF aircraft which was patrolling in “international airspace over the Black Sea near to Ukraine.
The British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed that “two Russian armed SU-27 fighter aircraft” were in the vicinity of the RAF plane and Russia confirmed the missile was released due to a “technical malfunction.”
Wallace said two SU-27 fighters had “interacted with” the British RC-135, which is a surveillance plane and one of the Russian fighter jets fired a missile “beyond visual range” of the RC-135 over the Black Sea.
Wallace confirmed that all RAF patrols were suspended and later resumed escorted by fighter jets.
He added, “In light of this potentially dangerous engagement I have communicated my concerns to the Russian counterpart.”
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Wallace told MPs in Parliament, “I would also like to share with the House details of a recent incident which occurred in international airspace over the Black Sea.
“On September 29 an unarmed RAF RC-135 Rivet Joint, a civilian-style aircraft on routine patrol over the Black Sea was interacted with by two Russian armed SU-27 fighter aircraft. It is not unusual for aircraft to be shadowed and this day was no different.
“During that interaction, however, it transpired that one of the SU-27 aircraft released a missile in the vicinity of the RAF Rivet Joint beyond visual range.
“The total time of the interaction between the Russian aircraft and the Rivet Joint was approximately 90 minutes.
“The patrol completed and the aircraft returned to base.”
Wallace added, “We don’t consider this a deliberate escalation by the Russians. Our analysis would concur it was a malfunction.”
Wallace concluded to MPs in the House of Commons, “The UK Ministry of Defence has shared this information with allies and, after consultation, I have restarted routine patrols, but this time escorted by fighter aircraft.
“Everything we do is considered calibrated with regard to ongoing conflict in the region and in accordance with international law.
“We welcome Russia’s acknowledgement this was in international airspace, and the UK has conducted regular sorties with the RAF Rivet Joint in international airspace over the Black Sea since 2019 and we will continue to do so.”