A Russian fighter jet nearly shot down a British reconnaissance plane last year, according to leaked highly classified US military and intelligence documents circulating online.
The incident took place on September 29 off the coast of Crimea, which Russia seized in 2014 and used as a base for its Black Sea naval fleet, the New York Times reported.
According to one of the dozens of leaked classified Pentagon documents under investigation by the Justice Department, it was a British RC-135 reconnaissance plane that almost crashed.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace revealed the incident to the House of Commons of Parliament in October.
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Wallace said that two Russian Su-27 fighter jets intercepted the RC-135 in international airspace over the Black Sea and that a Russian plane flew ‘recklessly’, getting too close to the British reconnaissance plane.
But Wallace did not tell MPs at the time that a Russian fighter jet almost shot down the British reconnaissance plane.
The incident highlights the balance Western military officials are trying to maintain in trying to help the Ukrainian army and gather information about the war without directly engaging Moscow.
Russian officials have sought to portray NATO countries as ‘aggressors’, while the United States and its allies have said they support Ukraine but are not at war with Russia.
According to the NATO Treaty, if one member of the military alliance is attacked, all members of the alliance will recognize it as an attack and respond collectively.
The document in question was labeled ‘CONFIDENTIAL/NOFORN’, a classification that indicates it should not be shared with non-US citizens.
The document details a series of other Russian responses to surveillance flights conducted by US, UK and French aircraft between October and late February.
The Washington Post reported that US defense officials declined to comment on the content of the leaked documents.
Source:: Moscow/Sharq al-Awsat