A Russian jet came within 20 feet of a Navy surveillance aircraft as it flew in international airspace over the Baltic Sea on Tuesday, CNN reported.

The intercept involving the Russian Su-27 jet and a Navy P-8 Poseidon was considered safe, but unprofessional, according to the CNN report.

Navy officials would not confirm the incident but downplayed such an occurrence.

“U.S. Navy ships and aircraft routinely interact with military units from other countries,” the spokesman for Navy forces in Europe, Lt. Cmdr. Zach Harrell, said in an email. “If an unsafe interaction occurs, we will provide more information at that time.”

Tuesday’s intercept follows a January incident, when a Su-27 flew within 5 feet of a EP-3 Aries spy plane flying in international airspace over the Black Sea, forcing the American aircraft to fly through the Russian jet’s flight wash.

A similar incident occurred in late November, when another P-8 was left in another Russian jet’s afterburners, causing that P-8 to roll 15 degrees and experience what the Navy dubbed “violent turbulence.”

The Poseidon and Aries are used for intelligence and reconnaissance.

Geoff is the editor of Navy Times, but he still loves writing stories. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at geoffz@militarytimes.com.

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