The international airspace over the Black Sea is an area that has the dubious distinction of getting involved in controversies related to intrusion and a military jet belonging to Russia is believed to have come close to a surveillance plane of the U.S. Navy. The incident took place recently and was described as "safe and professional" by officials of the United States.

How the incident unfolded?

According to CNN reports, the Russian aircraft was armed. It had six air-to-air missiles, and its pilot captured photos of the plane of the United States when the incident happened in the International Airspace over the Black Sea.

Regarding the aspects of safety, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis clarified that several factors define what is safe and professional. Some of these factors are distance, speed, altitude, the rate of closure, and visibility and a combination of these indicate whether an encounter was safe or was executed professionally.

The Russian side does not view this incident as an out-of-the-way event. It has clarified that the Russian fighter did carry out a movement known, in military terminology, as a greeting maneuver. After this, the U.S. aircraft changed his flying course and moved away from the Russian border. Both the aircraft were operating south of the Sea of Azov, which separates Russia and Russian-occupied Crimea.

There is some confusion on the type of Russian fighter aircraft that was in involved in the incident – Americans believe it was a Su-30 while the Russians claim it to have been a Su-27. Whatever it be, the fact remains that both sides agree that there was an encounter.

Such confrontations are not new

Encounters of this nature have happened in the past and are considered to be a part of surveillance activities conducted by both the super powers.

US Navy Capt. Pamela Kunze has admitted that the US Navy operates ships and aircraft in the Black Sea and follows the guidelines set up under international law. It is a normal practice and is done regularly.

Russia also carries out similar activities off the U.S. coast. Recently, American stealth fighters came across a couple of Russian bombers along with fighter jets, in Alaska.

Earlier to that also, there were Russian military aircraft that appeared several times in the skies of Alaska. Obviously, the Russians feel that it needs to maintain a close watch in Alaska.

As to the incident over the Black Sea, its location was near Crimea which is significant because America does not support the actions of Russia in Crimea which it annexed in 2014 and in order to assure its European allies, the United States has taken necessary actions.

Allegations of encroaching into international airspace are the result of the Cold War between the superpowers, and each side is keen to learn about the progress of the other on various fronts and also about the preparedness of its military. Hence, they conduct exercises of this nature to keep their respective fleets in full working condition because none of them wants to get caught on the wrong foot.