(Warsaw) A Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter intercepted a Polish plane on a FRONTEX mission over the Black Sea on Friday, causing the pilots to “temporarily lose control” of the aircraft, according to a statement published on Sunday at Warsaw.
Polish populist government spokesman Piotr Müller said it was “rather a planned provocation by Russia” on private television Polsat News.
On Saturday evening, Romania, which was the first to mention the incident, denounced “totally unacceptable aggressive behavior” from Moscow.
According to Polish border guards, the Russian plane “entered the Romanian-designated area of operations without any radio contact”, carried out “aggressive and dangerous maneuvers, approaching the border guard plane three times Poles without the necessary safety distance”.
As a result, the aircraft, a Turbolet L-410, “experienced significant turbulence” and the crew, comprising five officials, including two pilots, “lost control of the aircraft and lost altitude” .
Polish border guards clarified that the Russian fighter passed “just in front of the nose of the aircraft”, crossing its trajectory at a distance estimated at “about 5 meters”.
After the incident, the Polish aircraft landed safely in Romania.
This incident is “further evidence of Russia’s provocative approach to the Black Sea”, Romania’s Defense Minister said in a statement on Saturday evening, lamenting “repeated dangerous maneuvers” by a Russian pilot ” irresponsible”.
According to the statement, the unarmed Polish plane “monitoring the migratory risk” was about 60 kilometers east of Romanian airspace, in international airspace.
It has been deployed in Romania since April 19 and until May 17 as part of an operation organized by Romania and coordinated by the European external borders agency FRONTEX, in which Spain and Sweden participate.
Incidents involving Russian planes and aircraft from NATO countries have increased in recent years, even before the start of the conflict in Ukraine.
They often took place over the Baltic Sea, but also in the Black Sea and elsewhere.