Russia says its jet neared US aircraft

Russia says its jet neared US aircraft

Russia says its jet neared US aircraft

Su-27 jets of aerobatics team Russkiye Vityasy, or Russian Knights, perform during the MAKS-2015 International Aviation and Space Show in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

A Russian fighter jet came into close proximity with a U.S. air force jet over Syria on Oct. 10 to identify it, “not to scare it,” Russia’s state ITAR-TASS news agency quoted the defense ministry as saying on Oct. 14. 

The ministry said its SU-30CM jet was within 2-3 kilometers of the U.S. plane. 

Washington said on Oct. 13 that U.S. and Russian jets came within visual identification range over Syria where the former Cold War foes are carrying out rival bombing campaigns.    

Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, meanwhile, warned Oct. 14 of the risk of a U.S.-Russian conflict breaking out over Syria, as he readied to travel to the region.

American and Russian planes are currently waging separate air campaigns over Syria targeting Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), although Washington and its allies have accused Moscow of targeting Western-backed rebels in order to prop-up the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Steinmeier - who is to visit Iran, Saudi Arabia and Jordan in the coming days - said he wanted to “urgently caution the U.S. and Russia not to military engage in a way that in the end could lead to a conflict” between them.

“Secondly, we must strive to help build bridges between Iran and Saudi Arabia so that it becomes conceivable that in the end we can get all the regional partners we need at one table,” he said.  

“For that I’ll travel to Iran and Saudi Arabia next weekend.” 

Steinmeier leaves late on Oct. 16 for Tehran to hold talks with his counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani. He will then travel on to Saudi Arabia before heading to Jordan, where he is due to join an OSCE Mediterranean Conference.