A US Air Force RC-135V strategic reconnaissance plane made a long flight along the Crimean coast and south of the Kerch Strait on Thursday, Interfax-Ukraine reports, citing aircraft monitoring data.
After taking off at the Souda Bay airbase on the Greek island of Crete, the plane with a tail number of 64-14841 and call sign of HARK51 spent three hours flying along the coast of Crimea and to the south and south-west of the peninsula. During the flight, it made at least four approaches to the south of the Kerch Strait.
In the region of Sevastopol, the aircraft, which can carry out electronic reconnaissance hundreds of kilometers deep into an enemy territory, came within 50 km of the coast.
At all times, the plane remained within international airspace over the Black Sea, and did not cross the Russian border.
According to intercepted radio information, a Russian fighter took off from the Belbek Airport to escort the American reconnaissance plane.
On November 25, Russian naval forces attacked and captured three Ukrainian ships: two armored artillery boats and a tugboat, with a combined crew of 24. The Ukrainian sailors were placed under arrest by the Kremlin-controlled Simferopol court, and transferred to Moscow on November 30.