MOSCOW - The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday it had sent a fighter plane on Friday to intercept a US aircraft approaching its border over the Baltic Sea because the American plane had turned off its transponder, which is needed for identification.
The Pentagon said the US Air Force RC-135 plane had been flying a routine route in international airspace and that the Russian SU-27 fighter had intercepted it in an "unsafe and unprofessional" way. CNN reported that the Russian jet had come within about 100 feet of the US plane and had performed a barrel roll.
"All flights of Russian planes are conducted in accordance with international regulations on the use of airspace," the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
"The US Air Force has two solutions: either not to fly near our borders or to turn the transponder on for identification."