Frontex Let L41 intercepted by Russian Su-35 over the Black Sea

On Friday, a Russian Su-35 fighter jet dangerously intercepted a Let L410 (reg. SN-61YG) aircraft to the Polish Border Guard Service, which was conducting a scheduled patrol mission under the auspices of Frontex over the Black Sea in international airspace in cooperation with Romanian services.

The incident occurred at around 13:20, 60 km to the east from Romanian airspace. The Ministry of National Defence of Romania reported that the Russian fighter jet’s aggressive and dangerous manoeuvres caused high turbulence and difficulties in controlling the Polish aircraft.

Two Romanian Air Force fighter jets and two Spanish Air Force fighter jets, operating as part of the Air Police Combat Service, were alerted by NATO’s Joint Air Operations Center in Torrejón, Spain, and were ready to intervene if necessary, but it was not required.

The Polish crew managed to regain control of the aircraft after an initial loss of altitude caused by the Su-35’s maneuvers and landed safely at Mihail Kogălniceanu International Airport in Romania around 1:50 p.m. None of the Polish crew members were injured.

The Romanian authorities are in contact with Frontex and the Polish authorities to find out all the circumstances of the incident. The Ministry of Defence of Romania states that the Russian Federation’s aggressive behaviour towards an unarmed aircraft carrying out the Frontex mission of monitoring migration risks in the Black Sea basin is unacceptable. The incident is further evidence of the provocative behaviour of the Russian Federation in the Black Sea.

The Polish L410 UVP-E20 aircraft is in Romania from 19 April to 17 May 2023 as part of the Western Black Sea 2023 multipurpose maritime operation coordinated by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. The operation, led by Romania and coordinated by Frontex, aims to prevent illegal migration, illegal fishing, sea pollution, and other types of cross-border crime in the Black Sea region. It involves Poland, Spain, and Sweden, along with two European Union agencies, and is planned to continue until mid-December this year.

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