Russian fighter jet ‘intercepts US spy plane’ as fears rise over Ukraine war

Russia claims to have intercepted a US spy plane as tensions mount over a new war in Ukraine.

Footage seems to show a MiG-31 fighter jet stopping a US RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft off the coast of Russia.

Kremlin defence chiefs claim it was escorted over the Pacific Ocean.

The incident comes as fears grow the Russia-Ukraine crisis could be days from exploding into war.

The American plane is reportedly seen from the cockpit of the Russian warplane off the coast of the Kamchatka peninsula.

The Russian National Defence Control Centre said: “To identify the air target and prevent violation of the Russian state border, a MiG-31 fighter from the air defence forces of the Eastern Military District was scrambled.

“The crew of the Russian fighter identified the air target as a strategic reconnaissance aircraft RC-135 of the US Air Force and escorted it over the Pacific Ocean.”

The statement claimed the Russians acted “in strict accordance with international rules for the use of airspace”.

It added: “Violations of the state border were averted.”

In recent months, Russia has accused NATO of intensifying aerial reconnaissance near the Russian border.

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Moscow has claimed such flights pose the “risk of an accidental escalation”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has amassed troops and heavy military equipment close to the country’s flashpoint border with Ukraine.

The US is next week sending two warships through the Bosphorus to the Black Sea, as Russia is also boosting naval deployments in the area.

Brittany Stewart, US defence attache in Kiev, travelled on Friday (Friday 9) to the eastern Ukrainian war zone to assess the situation on the ground.

During the last week, a top Russian official has issued a stark warning to Ukraine that the diplomatic face-off could soon lead to “full-scale combat operations”.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said growing tension between the two countries could be the "beginning of the end" for Ukraine.

He added it would come “not with a shot in the leg, but in the face".

In response, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy flew into the contested Donbass region.

He spoke to troops entrenched there against potential military action from Russian-backed rebels.

UK senior commanders and officials are said to be on "high alert" and monitoring the situation "with growing concern”.

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