The United States (US) has accused a Venezuelan Sukhoi Su-30MK2 fighter of “aggressively” shadowing its naval force’s Lockheed EP-3 Aries II reconnaissance plane over international airspace on Friday.
On Sunday, the US military said in a statement that the Russian-made fighter aggressively shadowed the EP-3 at an “unsafe distance” in international airspace for a prolonged period of time, “endangering the safety of the crew and jeopardizing the EP-3 mission.”
The Venezuelan military, in response, denounced the US navy plane for violating "security of air operations and international treaties." The country has alleged that over 76 US aircraft have attempted to enter Venezuelan airspace in 2019 alone.
The incident with the planes occurred on the heels of President Trump proclaiming sanctions against Venezuela's military counter-intelligence agency.
The US military reported that Venezuelan strategic high command "proceeded to intercept the aircraft through two airplanes of the Bolivarian Air Force with the intention of applying the international protocols established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). As the US aircraft did not comply with such protocols, it was forced to vacate (the Venezuelan airspace)."