Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon says the Russian SU-27 made a high-speed pass directly in front of the U.S. EP-3 and came "very, very close" to the American aircraft.
"The jet's crew reported identifying the US reconnaissance plane and accompanied it, preventing a violation of Russian airspace and followed all necessary safety procedures", the statement from Russian defense officials said, according to Russian state-backed Sputnik News. The intercepting SU-27 made an additional pass, closing with the EP-3 and applying its afterburner while conducting a banking turn away.
The SU-27 then made a second pass of the U.S. plane and applied its afterburner while conducting a banking maneuver, which is believed to have caused a vibration that was experienced by the American crew.
US Navy captain Bill Ellis said: "For the Russian fighter aircraft to fly this close to the U.S. Navy aircraft, especially for extended periods of time, is unsafe".
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The Navy posted video of the incident on Monday.
Russian Su-27 blasts its engines as it passes the EP-3. He added that there was no communication between the two aircraft during the 25-minute ordeal.
The US Navy also noted that the jet's actions caused turbulence and vibrations for the spy plane's crew. An RC-135V plane was detected flying above the Barents Sea, while two others, an RC-135U and RC-135V, flew along the Syrian coastline, where two major Russian bases, Hmeymim and Tarsus, are located.
The EP-3 is a electronic warfare and surveillance plane used by the US Navy.
Though the USA has announced its Trident Juncture military exercises in global airspace and waters, or over friendly countries with their approval, Russia's military has made a number of "surprise visits", most recently with a long-range bomber flying over a United States warship.