Russia scrambled Su-27 fighter jets to intercept three French military planes on Wednesday as they approached the Russian border over the Black Sea, the defense ministry in Moscow said.
The ministry said in a statement that it dispatched two Su-27s to check out the two French Mirage 2000 fighter jets and a KC-135 refueling plane after they were detected “over the neutral waters of the Black Sea” on approach to Russia’s border.
The ministry said the Russian jets escorted the French aircraft over the Black Sea “in strict accordance with international rules for the use of airspace”.
The French planes turned back from the border and the Russian fighters returned to base, it said.
“Violations of the state border of the Russian Federation were not allowed,” it added.
Tensions between Russia and the West have hit their highest point since the Cold War in the years since Moscow in 2014 annexed the Crimean peninsula on the Black Sea from Ukraine.
Russia and Western countries routinely intercept each other’s fighter jets near their borders.
Moscow last intercepted French fighter jets over the Black Sea in October last year.
In May 2019, US fighters intercepted six Russian military aircraft in international airspace west of Alaska.