Russian jet FIRES missile towards unarmed RAF plane in international airspace over Black Sea

Image of a Russian Su-27 fighter jet. Credit: Wikipedia - By Vitaly V. Kuzmin -, CC BY-SA 4.0,

An unarmed RAF plane was shadowed by two Russian fighter jets while flying in international airspace over the Black Sea.


Ben Wallace, the UK Defence Secretary, revealed to the House of Commons today, Thursday, October 20, that an unarmed RAF plane was shadowed by two Russian fighter jets while flying in international airspace. A missile was subsequently fired from one of the jets in the direction of the British aircraft.

The incident occurred on September 29 whilst the Rivet Joint RC-135W spy plane was flying unaccompanied on a routine patrol over the Black Sea.

According to Mr Wallace, the two Su-27 fighter jets tailed the British plane for at least 90 minutes, describing the event as a “potentially dangerous engagement” in what is an alarming escalation in tensions between Moscow and the West, as reported by

“I’ve communicated my concerns directly to my Russian counterpart, Defence Minister Shoigu and the Chief of Defence Staff in Moscow. In my letter, I made clear that the aircraft was unarmed back in international airspace, following a pre-notified flight path. I felt it was prudent to suspend these patrols until a response was received by the Russian state”, the Defence Secretary informed the House.

In his official response on October 10, Sergei Shoigu, the Russian Defence Minister apparently blamed the missile firing on a ‘technical malfunction’ by one of the Su-27 jets said Mr Wallace. “We are dealing with a president and indeed Russian forces who, as we’ve seen from the Rivet Joint incident, are not beyond making the wrong calculation… that the rules don’t apply to them”.

The four-engined RAF plane is used to monitor signals from radars and other electronic systems. It is nicknamed the ‘nuke sniffer’ due to its capability of reading any radioactivity that is present in the atmosphere.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]


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