Russian Plane Comes within Meters of US Jet Flying Over Baltic Sea
An armed Russian fighter jet came within just a few meters of a U.S. military plane flying over the Baltic Sea, an official told VOA Tuesday.
The Pentagon said the American plane, an RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft, was unprofessionally "intercepted" in international airspace on Monday by a Russian SU-27 Flanker fighter jet.
"Due to the high rate of closure speed and poor control of the aircraft during the intercept, this interaction was determined to be unsafe," Defense Department spokeswoman Army Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza told VOA Tuesday.
She added that the action had the potential to cause serious harm and injury to all air crews involved.
Pentagon officials stressed that the American reconnaissance plane "did nothing to provoke" the Russian jet's behavior.
"The Russian military is within its right to exercise within international airspace, but they must respect international standards set to ensure safety and prevent accidents," Baldanza said.
Close encounters take place on a regular basis among military aircraft operating in international areas. The vast majority of encounters with American military planes are conducted in a safe manner, officials said.
Saudi King Elevates Son to Crown Prince
Saudi Arabia's King Salman has promoted his 31-year-old son Mohammed bin Salman to crown prince, making him next in line to the throne while also serving as defense minister and overseeing an effort to overhaul the country's economy.
The move was announced Wednesday through decrees issued by the state-run SPA news agency.
The former crown prince and nephew of King Salman, Mohammed bin Nayef, was relieved of all of his positions including the role of interior minister, the decrees said.
Mohammed bin Salman, who had been the deputy crown prince, will also now be Saudi Arabia's deputy prime minister.
The 31-year-old has been in charge of the Saudi-led coalition fighting on behalf of Yemen's government in a war against Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
Saudi state media said Wednesday's changes were approved by 31 of the 34 members of the royal family who make up what is known as the Allegiance Council.
King Salman came to power in 2015 following the death of his half-brother, King Abdullah.