Venezuelan fighter 'aggressively shadowed' US reconnaissance plane over Caribbean Sea: US military

21 Juillet, 2019, 21:29 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Venezuela SU-30 Flanker as it aggressively shadowed a U.S. EP-3 Aries II at an unsafe distance in international airspace over the Caribbean Sea

Venezuela identified the US plane as an EP-3E Aries II, which is a reconnaissance version of the P-3 Orion produced by Lockheed Martin Corp.

The incident, which occurred on Friday, involved a "Russian-made" SU-30 Flanker Venezuelan fighter aircraft and a US Navy EP-3 Aries II aircraft conducting a "detection and monitoring" mission, US Southern Command said in a statement. "As the United States aircraft did not comply with such protocols, it was forced to vacate (the Venezuelan airspace)".

SOUTHCOM said that the U.S.

"The EP-3 was performing a multi-nationally recognized and approved mission in global airspace" over the Caribbean Sea, SOUTHCOM added.

SOUTHCOM also shared a video of how close the Venezuelan fighter jet got to the Navy plane on Twitter.

The incident underscored rising tensions between the two nations.

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Venezuela's government has offered opposition to maintain contact dialogue for peace in the country during the latest round of talks in Barbados, President Nicolas Maduro said.

The flight created a safety risk for commercial aircraft in the vicinity of Simon Bolivar International Airport in Maiquetia, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said on Twitter. More than 50 countries now support Guaido, and the USA regularly announces new sanctions against Maduro and his associates.

"Despite the Venezuelan people's suffering, his nation's vital infrastructure crumbling, and children starving, Maduro chooses to use his country's precious resources to engage in unprovoked and unjustified acts", SOUTHCOM said. The run-in itself took place on July 19, according to the U.S. military.

Since the Venezuelan plane was Russian-made, the United States military did not hesitate to blame its favorite bogeyman - Moscow - for the incident.

In a second tweet the USA said the action "demonstrates Russia's irresponsible military support" of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government. The U.S. P-8A Poseidon aircraft was flying in worldwide airspace on June 4 at the time of the intercepts, Navy officials added.

In a statement, the government said this was the 76th time this year that there had been "this type of incident" with US military aircraft. The entire encounter lasted nearly 3 hours and the USA plane was not trying to "provoke this Russian activity".

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