World War 3 threat: Russia sends fighter jet to block US spy plane

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The Russian Defence Ministry sent a Su-27 fighter jet on Sunday to intercept a US navy reconnaissance aircraft. The ministry’s broadcasting service Zvezda revealed that their systems detected the US aircraft approaching the country’s border, leading to the aerial confrontation.

Zvezda claimed the fighter jets crew identified the US plane as a US Navy EP-3E Aries radio reconnaissance aircraft.

They said that US spy plane retreated when detected.

They added: “After the US reconnaissance plane turned away from the Russian state border, the Russian fighter safely returned to the airfield.”

Zvezda added no violation of the Russian state border is allowed.

Russia’s fighter jet was said to have conducted the interception in strict accordance with international airspace rules.

Russian state media TASS also reported that the country’s National Defence Control Centre said the US spy plane did not violate the state border.

It is the eighth close contact between US spy planes and Russian fighter jets in the last 16 days.

Another Russian Su-27 fighter plane was scrambled on August 5 to intercept a US Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance plane and a US Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol plane over the Black Sea.

Russia’s Su-27 twin engine fighter aircraft can travel at twice the speed of sound, with speeds reaching up to 1,553mph (2,500kph).

The jet is equipped with an advanced infrared search and track system with the capacity to immediately detect up to ten targets within a radius of 100km.

The fighter jet can also hold a 30mm GSh-301 gun with 150 rounds of ammunition and a range of missiles, rockets and bombs.

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Sunday also saw Russia receive US citizen Paul Whelan from American forces to serve a prison sentence.

Mr Whelan was found guilty of spying against Russia, and will serve his sentence in the country’s prison Mordovia.

Earlier that week, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters that the issue of swapping Whelan for any Russian citizens imprisoned in the US had not been discussed with Washington yet.

He added “the ball is in their court” for handling Russia’s extradition requests, which they did not reply to.

Both the US and Russia have been ramping up their nuclear arsenal, with both nations focusing on submarine launched warheads.

Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed that Russian Navy submarines will be armed with nuclear strike weapons and underwater nuclear drones.

Mr Putin said of the new additions: “The widespread deployment of advanced digital technologies that have no equals in the world, including hypersonic strike systems and underwater drones, will give the fleet unique advantages and increased combat capabilities.”

US President Donald Trump’s administration has called for a new $14 billion W93 submarine-launched atomic warhead programme.

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