U.S., Russian Navies Discuss Air, Naval Interceptions

  • Our Bureau
  • 01:23 PM, May 26, 2021
  • 1876
U.S., Russian Navies Discuss Air, Naval Interceptions
Leaders of the U.S. and Russian Navies met Tuesday to discuss intercepts between the two countries at air and sea. Photo via U.S. Navy

Leaders of the U.S. and Russian navies met on Tuesday in Moscow to discuss air-to-air intercepts in international airspace and interactions between the two nations' ships.

The two navies held the annual Prevention of Incidents On and Over the Waters Outside the Limits of the Territorial Sea (INCSEA) consultations.

This annual event is a professional discussion reviewing the implementation of the agreement and reaffirming our enduring commitment to risk reduction dialogue, an official release said.

The U.S. Navy hosted the last meeting in Washington D.C. July 18, 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the discussion did not take place in 2020.

The consultations address air-to-air intercepts of each other’s aircraft in international airspace, and interactions between our nations’ ships that occurred in international waters over the past year.

Established in 1972, the bilateral INCSEA agreement between the U.S. and the Soviet Union codified the mutual interest of both sides in promoting safety of navigation and safety of flight when operating on and over international waters, and specified annual consultations to review compliance with the articles of the agreement.

The release did not offer details on what was discussed at this year's meeting, but the two years since the last consultation have seen a number of intercepts - in the air and at sea - involving both countries' militaries.

Last month, NATO aircraft intercepted two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack bombers and an A-50 Mainstay airborne warning plane over the Baltic Sea. NATO fighter jets in March intercepted six different groups of Russian military aircraft as they approached NATO airspace.

The two countries have also engaged in several recent maritime confrontations, like last November when Russia's defense ministry said it caught the U.S. Navy destroyer USS John McCain in contested waters in the Sea of Japan and chased the vessel off.

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