Sukhoi Su-27
© REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin;
(L) Sukhoi Su-27 jet (R) Screenshot Russian Ministry of Defense
A Russian Su-27 fighter jet has warned off a US P-8а Poseidon reconnaissance plane, which was approaching the Russian maritime border in the Baltic Sea, the Defense Ministry said.

The radars picked up the approaching target over the neutral waters in the Baltics and a Su-27 fighter jet was scrambled to intercept it.

The Russian pilots closed in on the target, while maintaining a safe distance, and identified it as US Air Force reconnaissance plane, P-8A Poseidon. The American aircraft subsequently pulled away, while the Russian jet safely returned to base.

Such incidents have become quite common as the US-led NATO block boosted its presence near the Russian borders, following Moscow's reunification with Crimea in 2014 and the start of the Ukrainian conflict.

In November, the Americans complained over what they called an "unsafe" intercept of its EP-3 spy plane by a Su-27. The US Navy blamed the Russian jet for "conducting a high speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, putting at risk the pilots and crew." Moscow insisted that a safe distance was maintained during the aerial maneuvers.

Last week, the Defense Ministry also released a video of a Su-27 intercepting a Swedish surveillance aircraft over the Baltic Sea.

P-8 Poseidon is a modified version of Boeing 737 Next Generation passenger aircraft, developed by the company for the US Navy and put in service in 2013. Besides performing patrol and reconnaissance missions, the plane can carry torpedoes and missiles to be used in anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare.

The Su-27 is a fourth-generation fighter jet, which was officially introduced to the Soviet military in 1985. Designed for air supremacy missions, the aircraft is equipped with a 30mm gun and has 10 hard points for air-to-air missiles and other ammunition.