The US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa has confirmed that two Russian aircraft have intercepted a US Air Force B-52 bomber over Black Sea.

Two Russian Su-27 Flanker pilots intercepted the bomber that was carrying out routine operations and flew “in an unsafe and unprofessional manner”.

The Su-27s crossed within 100ft of the B-52’s nose many times at co-altitude and restricted the bomber’s manoeuvre ability and caused turbulence in afterburner.

US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander Gen. Jeff Harrigian said: “Actions like these increase the potential for mid-air collisions, are unnecessary, and inconsistent with good airmanship and international flight rules.

“While the Russian aircraft were operating in international airspace, they jeopardised the safety of flight of the aircraft involved.

“We expect them to operate within international standards set to ensure safety and prevent accidents.”

The B-52 Stratofortress aircraft was undertaking routine operations in international airspace as per freedom of navigation and overflight.

USAF stated that it operates aircraft in the region according to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rules of flight.

In March this year, USAF F-22 tactical fighter jets and the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) CF-18 Hornets successfully intercepted two Russian aircraft north of Alaska, US.

In a separate development, six USAF B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers flew over the 30 NATO nations in Europe and North America on 28 August.