A set of US nuclear-bomber planes were joined by NATO allies, Italy, Spain and Romania, in a mission over Europe on Wednesday in a stark warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin as tensions continue to rise.
Striking footage shows one of the American B-52 planes soaring above the clouds alongside fighter jets from Spain, Italy and Romania.
The NATO air command tweeted: “The B-52s are training with Allied Air Forces during their BTF mission strengthening our Euro-Atlantic partnership.”
It comes two days after a Russian aircraft intercepted the two US jets as they flew over the Baltic Sea close to Russian airspace.
On Tuesday, the Russian foreign ministry said an Su-35 fighter jet was sent to intercept two B-52 US strategic bombers that, they alleged, were heading towards the Russian Federation state border.
The ministry said, according to TASS: “On March 20, 2023, the radars of the air defence forces of the Western Military District on duty detected two air targets flying in the direction of the state border of the Russian Federation over the Baltic Sea,”
The Su-35 fighter was scrambled to prevent “a violation of the state border” by the US aircraft, the ministry said, adding that the aircraft reached a “designated air patrol area”.
But the ministry confirmed the Russian aircraft returned to base following a tense standoff.
Moscow’s ministry also confirmed that “no violation” of the Russian Federation state border was “permitted”.
Following the incident, dramatic footage purporting to show the US B-52 bomber from the cockpit of the Russian fighter jet appeared on social media.
The incident is believed to have happened on Monday and two US planes were later seen being escorted by Polish fighter jets.
Before concluding his visit, Xi ominously told Putin, via an interpreter, that “change is coming”.
He said: “Change is coming that hasn’t happened in 100 years. And we are driving this change together”, before adding: “Please, take care, dear friend.”