A Russian fighter jet reportedly flew within 50 feet of a Swedish airplane, part of what officials call a pattern of increasingly aggressive behavior from Russian jets.
This week, Swedish agency FRA released a photo showing a Russian SU27 fighter aircraft flying within just feet of the Swedish plane’s wing. In a statement, FRA said that Russian jets have been more aggressive in the air and that the latest incident was “unusually provocative.”
The Swedish agency did not share details about when the Russian fighter jet incident took place.
“We cannot comment on when it happened, nor where, but we can say that it shows an example of behaviour we weren’t used to before,” said Communications Manager Anni Bölenius. “This picture is just one example, but there have been enough to confirm that there is a trend that differs from what we’ve seen historically.”
The incident comes after other acts of aggression by Russian fighter jets. Two bombers came within miles of the Canadian coast last month, forcing the Canadian military to scramble two CF-18s to intercept them. The Russian bombers turned back when the Canadian planes approached, reports said.
Before that, six Russian aircraft, including MIGs and refueling tanks, came within 40 miles of the Alaskan coast. The United States sent two F-22 fighter jets to chase away the Russian planes. Officials in Moscow later claimed that the planes were part of a military exercise, and denied entering American or Canadian airspace in either incident.
The Russian jet incident is part of growing tension between Russia and the west. After Russian troops invaded Ukraine in the summer, President Vladimir Putin reportedly threatened to use nuclear weapons if the conflict continued.
Putin has threatened other nations beyond Ukraine. The German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported that in a private meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Putin bragged that Russia could invade Eastern Europe if they wanted to.
“If I wanted, in two days I could have Russian troops not only in Kiev, but also in Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Warsaw and Bucharest,” Putin reportedly said.
There is no confirmation of when the Russian jets reportedly shadowed the Swedish airplane, though some have suggested that the picture may have been older than officials claim.
[Image via FRA]