The U.S. military accused a Venezuelan fighter aircraft for “unsafely approaching” and “aggressively shadowing” a U.S. navy plane in international airspace on Friday (BBC). The U.S. EP-3 plane was on a multi-nationally approved reconnaissance mission to counter illicit trafficking over the Caribbean Sea (BBC; AP). U.S. authorities said the Venezuelan SU-30 fighter jet closely trailed the U.S. plane for a prolonged period of time, endangering its crew and jeopardizing the mission (AP; Al Jazeera). Venezuelan authorities claimed the U.S. aircraft entered Venezuelan airspace Friday morning and failed to report its presence to local authorities (Al Jazeera). The Venezuelan military said two fighter jets intercepted and escorted the U.S. plane out of Venezuelan airspace (BBC). No one was hurt in the incident (Al Jazeera).
The U.S. military neither provided details of the mission nor gave an exact location of the encounter (Al Jazeera). However, Venezuela’s government said it detected the U.S aircraft in the flight area surrounding Maiquetia Airport near Caracas, Venezuela’s capital (Reuters). The government also claimed there have been 76 similar incidents this year (AP). Venezuelan authorities called the U.S. aircraft irresponsible because its crew allegedly turned off its transponder to avoid being identified (BBC). The day of the incident, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on four of Venezuela’s military counterintelligence agency top officials (Al Jazeera). The U.S. military stated that the Maduro regime continuously undermined internationally recognized laws (Reuters).
Tags: Venezuela, Military, United States, EP-3 plane