The U.S. Southern Command said Sunday on Twitter that the U.S. EP-3 "was performing a multi-nationally recognized & approved" mission when shadowed "at an unsafe distance" by a Venezuelan SU-30 Flanker, "jeopardizing the crew & aircraft".
Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) said Sunday in a news release that a U.S. Navy EP-3 Aries II aircraft was flying a mission in worldwide airspace when it was approached "in an unprofessional manner" by the Venezuelan SU-30 Flanker fighter plane. More than 50 countries now support Guaido, and the US regularly announces new sanctions against Maduro and his associates. The run-in itself took place on July 19, according to the USA military.
Video footage released by the military, shows the Venezuelan fighter jet closing in on the US surveillance aircraft.
The incident underscored rising tensions between the two nations.
Venezuelan officials claimed the aircraft entered Venezuelan airspace without notification and was "a clear provocation" in addition to being in violation of global treaties.
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In a statement published on Sunday by Venezuela's government, the South American country's armed forces said they rejected "the incursion of a USA reconnaissance and intelligence aircraft" in the flight area surrounding Maiquetia airport, which serves the capital city of Caracas.
Venezuelan defense officials sad the USA aircraft entered local airspace over the Caribbean in a one-hour flight in breach of worldwide treaties, until it was pursued by the Venezuelan air force.
"This latest action also demonstrates Russia's irresponsible military support to the illegitimate Maduro regime and adds to Maduro's growing legacy of reckless and negligent behavior, which undermines global rule of law and efforts to counter illicit trafficking", Southcom said.
Does This Venezuelan Fighter Jet Get Aggressively Close to a US Navy Aircraft?
U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has repeatedly used sanctions in an effort to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, whose 2018 re-election has been deemed illegitimate by the United States and most Western nations.