The United Kingdom’s defense ministry said Thursday that a Russian fighter jet malfunctioned and fired a missile near a British spy plane over the Black Sea last month.
“We don’t consider this a deliberate escalation by the Russians, our analysis would concur it was a malfunction,” UK Defense Minister Ben Wallace told the House of Commons on Thursday.
“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.”
Patrols over the Black Sea have resumed with British fighter jets accompanying all reconnaissance aircraft.
Russian Air Force Su-27 Russkiye Vityazi jet fighters in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow. (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin)
Wallace visited the United States this week for meetings at the Pentagon, State Department and White House.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan met with the UK leader on Tuesday and they “underscored their commitment to continue providing Ukraine with security assistance as it defends itself against Russian aggression,” according to a readout of their meeting.
Vladimir Putin delivers an address flanked by men in military uniforms. (Pavel Bednyakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Wallace, along with other Western officials, has warned Russia of severe consequences if the country uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
“We are dealing with a president and indeed a Russian forces who, as we’ve seen from the Rivet Joint incident, are not beyond making the wrong calculation or indeed deciding that the rules don’t apply to them,” Wallace said Thursday, referring to the Russian fighter jet that accidentally fired a missile.
A view shows the site of a plane crash, after a Sukhoi Su-34 supersonic medium-range fighter-bomber plunged towards the residential building, in the southern city of Yeysk, Russia Oct. 17, 2022. (Reuters/Stringer)
In a separate incident this week, a Russian SU-34 fighter jet crashed into an apartment building in the southern city of Yeysk, killing at least 13 people and injuring nearly two dozen others.
Reuters contributed to this report.