July 21, 2019 – On July 19, a U.S. Navy EP-3 Aries II aircraft, flying a mission in approved international airspace, was approached in an unprofessional manner by a SU-30 Flanker Venezuelan fighter aircraft.
After reviewing video documentation, we have determined the Russian-made fighter aggressively shadowed the EP-3 at an unsafe distance in international airspace for a prolonged period of time, endangering the safety of the crew and jeopardizing the EP-3 mission.
The U.S. routinely conducts regionally-supported, multi-nationally recognized and approved detection and monitoring missions in the region to ensure the safety and security of our citizens and those of our partners. The EP-3 aircraft was adhering to international standards and rules.
The Maduro regime continues to undermine internationally-recognized laws and demonstrate its contempt for international agreements authorizing the U.S. and other nations to safely conduct flights in international airspace.
Despite the Venezuelan people’s suffering, his nation’s vital infrastructure crumbling, and children starving, Maduro chooses to use his country’s precious resources to engage in unprovoked and unjustified acts.
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 international rule of law and efforts to counter illicit trafficking.