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Russia intercepts US spy planes over Black Sea

MOSCOW (Agencies): The Russian military has intercepted American spy planes over the Black Sea four times in the past week.

The Russian defense ministry said a Su-27 jet fighter buzzed two US reconnaissance aircraft on Thursday after they had approached the country’s border over the Black Sea.

The American spy planes were identified as an RC-135 strategic reconnaissance aircraft and a ?-8? Poseidon maritime surveillance plane.

“The American reconnaissance planes were not allowed to breach the Russian Federation’s state border,” the ministry said in a statement.

A similar incident took place on Monday over the Black Sea. The Russian air force also escorted a ?-8? Poseidon plane away from the country’s airspace last Thursday and again on Friday. American bombers and spy planes, as well as NATO aircraft, have frequently been spotted near Russia’s borders.

Moscow has time and again expressed its concern about the increasing presence and activities of the US-led NATO forces near Russia’s western borders.

The provocative flights have increased in frequency since 2014, when Crimea joined Russia following a referendum in which more than 90 percent of participants voted in favor of separating from Ukraine, and when the ongoing military conflict in eastern Ukraine broke out.

The West brands the reunification as annexation of Ukrainian land by Russia, which strongly rejects the allegation. In siding with Ukraine, the European Union has followed Washington’s lead in leveling several rounds of sanctions against Moscow.

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