Russian fighter jet fires MISSILE near RAF ‘nuke sniffer’ spy plane over Black Sea in 'dangerous' clash | The Sun

A RUSSIAN fighter jet fired a missile near an RAF "nuke sniffer" spy plane over the Black Sea in a "dangerous" clash.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the unarmed RAF Rivet Joint was on routine patrol in international airspace last month when it was tailed by two Russian Su-27 fighter jets.

During the 90-minute interaction, one of the Su-27s fired a missile near the RAF plane, Mr Wallace said.

Speaking in the Commons, he said Britain suspended patrols following the shocking incident – describing it as a "potentially dangerous engagement".

"On September 29 an unarmed RAF RC-135 Rivet Joint, a civilian-style aircraft on routine patrol over the Black Sea was interacted with by two Russian armed SU-27 fighter aircraft," Mr Wallace said.

"It is not unusual for aircraft to be shadowed and this day was no different.

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"During that interaction however, it transpired that one of the SU-27 aircraft released a missile in the vicinity of the RAF Rivet Joint beyond visual range.

"The total time of the interaction between the Russian aircraft and the Rivet Joint was approximately 90 minutes.

"The patrol completed and the aircraft returned to base."

Mr Wallace said Russia blamed the missile launch on a "technical malfunction" with the Su-27 fighter.

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And he said the UK didn't consider the incident to be a deliberate escalation of Britain's nuke stand-off with Russia.

"We don't consider this a deliberate escalation by the Russians, our analysis would concur it was a malfunction," Mr Wallace told parliament.

"However, it is a reminder of quite how dangerous things can be when you choose to use your fighters in the manner that the Russians have done over many periods of time."

The RAF RC-135W "soaks up" enemy signals and is also known as a 'nuke sniffer' because of its capability to test the atmosphere for evidence of radioactivity.

The four-engine jets are used by Britain to conduct electronic surveillance on enemy targets by monitoring signals from radars and other systems.

The Defence Secretary suggested the Black Sea incident shows the Russian military are "not beyond" deciding "the rules don't apply to them".

He said: "We are dealing with the president and indeed a Russian forces who, as we have seen from the Rivet Joint incident, are not beyond making the wrong calculation or indeed deciding that the rules don't apply to them."

Mr Wallace said RAF patrols have resumed – but with fighter aircraft escorts.

"The UK Ministry of Defence has shared this information with allies and, after consultation, I have restarted routine patrols, but this time escorted by fighter aircraft," he told MPs.

"Everything we do is considered and calibrated with regard to ongoing conflict in the region and in accordance with international law.

"We welcome Russia's acknowledgement this was in international airspace, and the UK has conducted regular sorties with the RAF Rivet Joint in international airspace over the Black Sea since 2019 and we will continue to do so."

Labour MP Luke Pollard described the incident as "serious", and welcomed the fact that RAF flights have restarted.

"This incident also acts as a serious reminder about the importance of avoiding escalation and miscalculation while continuing the UK's united support for Ukraine," he said.

It comes amid heightened fears Mad Vlad could use the Black Sea as ground zero for a nuclear attack.

Putin may choose to launch a low-yield device over the Black Sea or test fire a Poseidon drone off the US coast, experts have warned.

Fears of an imminent nuke test on the Ukraine border were raised earlier this month after a train was seen carrying supplies.

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And NATO warned Russia has deployed its giant new Belgorod submarine which can be armed with terrifying nuclear "doomsday drones".

The Poseidon torpedoes reportedly carry a two-megaton warhead designed to devastate coastal cities with a 300ft radioactive tsunami.

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