A plane carrying the Russian defence minister was buzzed by a Nato fighter jet above the Baltic Sea waters, Russian media reported. The Nato plane was then chased off by a Russian Su-27, which was providing security cover to the defence minister's jet.
Nato's F-16 supersonic multirole fighter approached Sergei Shoigu's plane was flying over the neutral waters of Baltic. He was on his way to Kaliningrad for a security meeting when the tense aerial incident occurred on Wednesday, 21 June.
Russian news agency Sputnik reported that the Nato jet flew away after the escorting Russian plane "displayed its weapons". Russia Today reported the incident, quoting journalists on board the minister's plane.
Kremlin did not officially comment on the matter and directed questions on the incident to the defence ministry, saying it has no information at the moment. "It's probably better to ask the defence ministry," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters when asked about the incident.
Nato has not officially responded to the reports. It is not clear if the F-16 pilot knew the Russian plane was carrying the country's defence minister.
The latest episode comes on the heels of similar aerial encounters when Danish, Finnish and Swedish jets repeatedly intercepted a Russian bomber fleet patrolling the Baltic Sea. Such aerial and maritime encounters between Russia and Western forces have sharply increased in recent months, with some of them being described as "unprofessional" by Nato officials.