Russian jet agonisingly close to shooting down unarmed British plane, which could have brought UK and US into the war

10 April 2023, 11:19

A Russian jet almost shot down a British surveillance plane
A Russian jet almost shot down a British surveillance plane. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

A Russian plane came close to shooting down a British jet in an encounter near the borders of Ukraine, leaked military papers have shown.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The Russian plane came close to striking the RAF Rivet Joint jet, a "nuke-sniffer", which was flying over the Black Sea, to the south of Ukraine on September 29 last year, Pentagon papers reveal.

Defence secretary Mr Wallace only said at the time that the Russian plane came close to the British jet and "released a missile in the vicinity". The incident took place in international waters.

He said the encounter was the result of a technical "malfunction", although he admitted it was a "potentially dangerous engagement.

Read more: Russian fighter jet fires missile near unarmed RAF plane patrolling over Black Sea

Read more: Tense footage shows Russian fighter jet colliding with American Reaper drone over Black Sea

He told MPs: "We don't consider this a deliberate escalation by the Russians, our analysis would concur it was a malfunction."

The Russian plane was an Su-27 jet fighter
The Russian plane was an Su-27 jet fighter. Picture: Getty

He said: "However, it is a reminder of quite how dangerous things can be when you choose to use your fighters in the manner that the Russians have done over many periods of time."

But the leaked Pentagon documents, uncovered by the Washington Post, show that the Russian Su-27 actually came very close to hitting the RAF jet, resulting in "a near-shoot down of UK RJ (Rivet Joint)."

If the missile had hit the RAF plane, it might have brought the UK and the rest of NATO into direct armed conflict with the Russians.

Article 5 of the founding treaty of NATO makes member states agree that an armed attack against one or more of them "shall be considered an attack against them all".

The Rivet Joint was almost show down
The Rivet Joint was almost show down. Picture: Getty

Every NATO member will help the country that has been attacked with any action "it deems necessary".

Mr Wallace said at the time: "The UK Ministry of Defence has shared this information with allies and, after consultation, I have restarted routine patrols, but this time escorted by fighter aircraft.

"Everything we do is considered and calibrated with regard to ongoing conflict in the region and in accordance with international law.

"We welcome Russia's acknowledgement this was in international airspace, and the UK has conducted regular sorties with the RAF Rivet Joint in international airspace over the Black Sea since 2019 and we will continue to do so."

The leak comes after a Russian fighter jet struck the propeller of a US surveillance drone over the Black Sea in March.

American officials were forced to bring down the unmanned aerial vehicle in international waters.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Kenya Cult Leader

Kenyan cult leader sentenced to 18 months for film violations

Rishi Sunak has said he should not be judged for how long he spent at Cop28

Judge me on results, not for how long I was at Cop28, pleads Rishi Sunak - after spending just 12 hours at climate talks

Israel-Hamas conflict

Met has ‘locally led’ London policing plan for expected pro-Palestine protests

Brigit Forsyth has died.

Still Open All Hours and Likely Lads star Brigit Forsyth dies aged 83

Matt Hancock bizarrely declared Joe Anderson had died

Ex-Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson says he is still alive after Matt Hancock bizarrely announces his death in Covid Inquiry

Jussie Smollett

Appeal court affirms actor Jussie Smollett’s convictions and jail sentence

A caller to James O’Brien’s programme has shared footage of the extraordinary destruction done to his newly purchased property just outside of Durham.

Property investor's shock at 'unexplainable level of damage' he discovered after buying new home

Charles's tie featured a display very similar to the Greek flag

King Charles wears tie 'with Greek flags' in pattern as he meets Sunak after row over Elgin Marbles

Belton house, Grantham a National Trust property.

Man, 29, arrested on suspicion of murder at National Trust country house where Bridgerton was filmed

Grand Theft Auto 6 has been announced by Rockstar Games.

Gamers in meltdown as Grand Theft Auto 6 trailer release date announced by Rockstar

General view of the UKFast Campus factory in Birley Fields, Manchester, as the company's multi-millionaire boss has been jailed for sexual harassment and bullying allegations had been facing pressure from his customers

Tech multi-millionaire who drugged and raped women jailed for 15 years

Benjamin Netanyahu insists the country will "liquidate Hamas"

'Hamas will now take the mother of all thumpings' for not releasing all kidnapped women, says Israel

Felicity Huffman - pictured right with husband William H. Macy - served 11 days in prison and was forced to pay $30,000 for her involvement in the college admissions scandal

Felicity Huffman breaks silence on college admissions scandal after prison sentence for bribing daughter's way into college

APTOPIX The AP Interview Zelenskyy

Ukrainian special forces ‘bomb two Russian trains on Siberian railway’

Havering Council has scrapped the Hanukkah plans

Havering council u-turns on plans to scrap installation of Hanukkah menorah after sparking fury among locals

Romania National Day

Tens of thousands watch military parade marking Romania’s national day