United States military complains Venezuelan jet ‘aggressively shadowed’ its spy plane… blames Russian Federation

Venezuela SU-30 Flanker as it aggressively shadowed a U.S. EP-3 Aries II at an unsafe distance in international airspace over the Caribbean Sea

Venezuela SU-30 Flanker as it aggressively shadowed a U.S. EP-3 Aries II at an unsafe distance in international airspace over the Caribbean Sea

Footage of the Russian-made Su-30 aircraft approaching a US EP-3 reconnaissance plane was released by the Southern Command on Saturday.

The U.S. military rejected Venezuela's claim that a U.S. intelligence aircraft flew over the South American nation's airspace on Friday, saying the American jet was over global waters and had been "aggressively shadowed".

The encounter between the two planes occurred on Friday, the same day that the Trump administration announced it was imposing sanctions on four top officials in Venezuela's military counterintelligence agency.

An U.S. Navy EP-3E Aries II electronic spy turborprop airplane from VQ-1 Squadron sits on the tarmac at Ault Field at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Oak Harbor, Washington April 13, 2001.

"The EP-3 aircraft, flying a mission in approved global airspace, was approached in an unprofessional manner by the SU-30".

Video footage released by the military, shows the Venezuelan fighter jet closing in on the US surveillance aircraft.

The Navy plane, an EP-3 aircraft is generally used by the Navy for anti-Submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare and has a range of 2,380 nautical miles, according to a Navy fact sheet.

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Venezuela's military weighed in Sunday, denouncing the U.S. aircraft for violating "security of air operations and worldwide treaties".

Venezuela's Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez says the USA plane entered Venezuelan airspace without prior notification and endangered commercial flights from the country's main airport.

The Venezuelan Operational Strategic Command also shared a map of where the incident took place.

"Despite the Venezuelan people's suffering, his nation's vital infrastructure crumbling, and children starving, Maduro chooses to use his country's precious resources to engage in unprovoked and unjustified acts", SOUTHCOM said.

It is proof of "Russia's irresponsible military support" for the Venezuelan government, as well as of President Nicolas Maduro's undermining of "efforts to counter illicit trafficking", the military said.

The U.S. aircraft was detected in Venezuelan airspace on Friday morning and did not report its presence to local authorities, the statement said, adding that it posed a risk to other planes in the area.

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