Key point: Russia and NATO's military buildup in the Baltics is creating a tense situation.
In the most recent illustration of ongoing Russia-NATO military tensions over Baltic airspace, recently released footage shows a Russian Su-27 fighter making a sharp turn into an American F-15C.
It is unclear when the video was filmed, with some speculating that it occured during a prior NATO BAP (Baltic Air Policing) mission. When viewed in that light, this incident seems to fall into the trend of what US officials have previously described as “unsafe” Russian interceptions and “aggressive maneuvers” in high-tension airspace.
Russian tactical aircraft in the Baltic region have previously been accused of flying with their transponders off, which would certainly compound an already-tense interception. The Russians have levied similar accusations against western aircraft operating in the region; most recently, against an unidentified Swedish Gulfstream surveillance craft intercepted by an Su-27.
But Russian media and military experts provide an entirely different context, arguing that it was the F-15 that engaged in “provocative” and “reckless” behavior by allegedly intruding on the flight path of a Russian government plane being escorted by the Su-27 in question.