WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. army on Sunday accused a Venezuelan fighter plane of “aggressively” shadowing a U.S. Navy EP-Three Aries II airplane over worldwide airspace, a contemporary signal of rising hostility between the 2 nations.
FILE PHOTO: An U.S. Navy EP-3E Aries II digital spy turborprop airplane from VQ-1 Squadron sits on the tarmac at Ault Area at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Oak Harbor, Washington April 13, 2001. REUTERS/Anthony P./File Picture
The encounter between the 2 planes occurred on Friday, the identical day that the Trump administration introduced it was imposing sanctions on 4 high officers in Venezuela’s army counterintelligence company.
In a press release issued Sunday, the U.S. army stated that it had decided the “Russian-made fighter aggressively shadowed the EP-Three at an unsafe distance in worldwide airspace for a protracted time period, endangering the protection of the crew and jeopardizing the EP-Three mission.”
The 2 planes didn’t collide and nobody was damage within the incident.
The U.S. army didn’t give particulars of the EP-Three’s mission nor say the place the encounter occurred.
In a press release revealed on Sunday by Venezuela’s authorities, the South American nation’s armed forces stated they rejected “the incursion of a U.S. reconnaissance and intelligence plane” within the flight space surrounding Maiquetia airport, which serves the capital metropolis of Caracas.
The U.S. plane was detected in Venezuelan airspace on Friday morning and didn’t report its presence to native authorities, the assertion stated, including that it posed a danger to different planes within the space.
At 11.33 a.m. native time two Venezuelan fighter jets intercepted the plane and it was escorted out of Venezuela’s airspace, the assertion stated.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has repeatedly used sanctions in an effort to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, whose 2018 re-election has been deemed illegitimate by america and most Western nations.
Maduro has retained the backing of Venezuela’s army and different establishments, in addition to China, Russia and Cuba.
“The Maduro regime continues to undermine internationally acknowledged legal guidelines and display its contempt for worldwide agreements authorizing the U.S. and different nations to soundly conduct flights in worldwide airspace,” the U.S. army stated in a press release.
The assertion additionally took a swing at Russia, saying the shut encounter within the air “demonstrates Russia’s irresponsible army assist to the illegitimate Maduro regime.”
Reporting by Idrees Ali; Writing by Sarah N. Lynch; Extra reporting by Angus Berwick in Caracas; Modifying by Lisa Shumaker and Rosalba O’Brien