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ROSE PRINCE: The sugar police won’t stop me pigging out on Percy Pigs

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rose prince the sugar police wont stop me pigging out on percy pigs

Fans say it’s that lovely hit of raspberry that gets you first. Then, when you sink your teeth into them, there’s a sublime soft chewiness, just a little harder than a marshmallow.

A few moments of mouthwatering deliciousness later, they are ready to be swallowed and, at that point, say their fanatical devotees, there’s no option but to have another one because they are as addictive as crack cocaine.

And there’s no reason to feel bad because they are, after all, made with natural fruit juice — with no artificial colourings or flavourings. I’m talking, of course, about the confectionary phenomenon that is the Percy Pig, a sweet that has been an integral part of M&S’s offering for more than 25 years, adored by adults and children alike.

But Henry Dimbleby, boss of the ethical restaurant group Leon and author of a new National Food Strategy commissioned by the Government, turned on the porcine legend.

The Percy Pig is a sweet that has been an integral part of M&S¿s offering for more than 25 years, adored by adults and children alike, writes ROSE PRINCE

The Percy Pig is a sweet that has been an integral part of M&S¿s offering for more than 25 years, adored by adults and children alike, writes ROSE PRINCE

The Percy Pig is a sweet that has been an integral part of M&S’s offering for more than 25 years, adored by adults and children alike, writes ROSE PRINCE

Like a parent telling a five-year-old that Father Christmas does not exist, he announced that far from being a harmless treat, Percy Pig is, in fact, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

He condemned the wording on the packs as wilfully misleading, taking issue with the boast of ‘no artificial colours or artificial flavourings’ and lines such as ‘soft gums made with fruit juice’.

‘How many parents take the time to check the ingredients list?’ he asked. ‘If they did, they might be agog to find that the three largest ingredients by weight are glucose syrup, sugar and glucose-fructose-syrup.’

While Dimbleby also criticised two other brands, Innocent and Juicy Water, for containing hidden sugars, his attack on a treat which has become a national institution inevitably stirred up a tempest.

But was it fair to target M&S, a firm known for its integrity when it comes to food? Dimbleby argues that he had no choice. ‘I single out Marks & Spencer here, not because it is the biggest sinner, but because it is such a well-trusted company,’ he said. ‘If M&S — which is a great deal more scrupulous than many food companies — is guilty of such trickery, you can be sure the practice is ubiquitous.’

He is right, of course, to highlight that a number of the ingredients on the packs’ contents list are nutritional no-no’s. Alongside sugar there is glucose syrup, invert sugar syrup, maltodextrin, glucose-fructose syrup — all sugar derivatives that nutritional health campaigners would like banned.

They turn up singly or combined in countless sweet snacks. Glucose syrup can increase the risk of obesity, high blood sugar levels, high blood pressure and heart disease.

The original recipe was made (fittingly) with pork gelatine, but the newly veggie Percy (pictured) was manufactured with pectin, a gelling agent derived from apples

The original recipe was made (fittingly) with pork gelatine, but the newly veggie Percy (pictured) was manufactured with pectin, a gelling agent derived from apples

The original recipe was made (fittingly) with pork gelatine, but the newly veggie Percy (pictured) was manufactured with pectin, a gelling agent derived from apples

Meanwhile, high fructose corn syrup has been linked to cancer, and invert sugar syrup, an incredibly sweet liquid, can be a factor in the onset of diabetes.

It is true, I believe, that the wording on the packaging should be clearer, but Henry, with all due respect, these are treats.

Nice, but how naughty are his rivals? 

Haribo’s Tangfastics 340 cals/100g, non-vegetarian, 50 per cent sugar

These contain sugar, glucose syrup and caramelised sugar syrup. The flavourings are natural, from fruits and plants. Naughty factor: 3/5

Rowntree’s Jelly Tots 351 cals/100g, suitable for vegans and vegetarians, 57.8 per cent sugar

loved by children, Jelly Tots contain a small 1% natural concentrated fruit juices and aside from sugar are sweetened with glucose syrup. 4.5/5

Maynards Bassetts Wine Gums Red n’Black 330 cals/100g, non-vegetarian, 57 per cent sugar

Contains no artificial colours but does have artificial flavourings, glucose syrup and also a proportion of non-eco-friendly palm oil. 5/5

M&S Veggie Colin the Caterpillar Fruit Sours 313 cals/100g, suitable for vegetarians, 56.4 per cent sugar

Percy Pig’s stable mate at M&S contains many of the same sugar derivatives but is sold on its vegetarian credentials using no pork gelatine. 3/5

Sainsbury’s strawberry laces 362 cals/100g, suitable for vegetarians, 48 per cent sugar

Natural flavourings plus fruit concentrates make these gummy strings sound healthy but sadly they, again, contain glucose-fructose syrup. 3/5

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Most people know sweets contain sugar and other nasty things and — if they eat too many of them or stuff them down their kids — it can be argued that it is they who should be targeted for negligence, not the manufacturers.

The Percy phenomenon is a marvel. His life — it’s difficult not to anthropomorphise — since his creation 28 years ago has been well documented.

Invented in 1992 by M&S buyer Bill Davies, Percy’s original incarnation was as a black and white liquorice panda. It took a year for him to evolve into the pink, floppy-eared, smiling porker’s head, flavoured with grape and raspberry, that we know today.

Before you could oink, sales began to soar. By 2007, a billion Percys had been sold. He made it into Vogue’s ‘What’s Hot’ list the very next year. Sir Andy Murray, Alexa Chung and Lewis Hamilton are all self-confessed fans.

Today, more than 300 million packs of the Percy Pig range are sold each year in 100 countries, That’s ten sweets a second, a food business success story that contributes around £20 million to M&S’s coffers every year.

The Percy Pig phenomenon is not confined to the sweets themselves. Associated merchandise includes cufflinks, pyjamas, wedding cakes and ice cream. And his Instagram account is extraordinary, featuring myriad ways to use Percy products.

You can skewer them onto sticks with marshmallows and serve with chocolate bunnies for Easter, or buy a Percy Pig flavoured dessert sauce to serve with pancakes. There was controversy across much of the fanbase in May 2019 when Percy went vegetarian. The original recipe was made (fittingly) with pork gelatine, but the newly veggie Percy was manufactured with pectin, a gelling agent derived from apples. Percy aficionados were furious, claiming the new ingredient made the gums taste of washing up liquid.

But Percy himself hit back. Asked at the time why he’d decided to go veggie, the normally modest pig explained that he wanted to be eaten by more people. ‘I’m a popular pig already but we wanted even more people to be able to have their fill of Percy,’ he said.

Percy himself is yet to respond to criticism, but M&S have commented: ¿All our products have clear labelling so that customers can make informed choices about what they buy' (file image)

Percy himself is yet to respond to criticism, but M&S have commented: ¿All our products have clear labelling so that customers can make informed choices about what they buy' (file image)

Percy himself is yet to respond to criticism, but M&S have commented: ‘All our products have clear labelling so that customers can make informed choices about what they buy’ (file image)

Later that month, a poll of Percy-loving M&S shoppers voted for their favourite sweet to stay vegetarian ‘for ever’. Such was the perceived desolation of the old guard that a pack of pre-veggie Percy chews even went on sale on eBay priced at £1,000.

Meanwhile, an ever-expanding family of treats is being dreamed up by M&S’s boffins. In 2013, Percy married Penny, who is flavoured with lemon and vanilla and the couple have had endless piglets, who have their own packs.

Percy himself is yet to respond to criticism from the much-respected Mr Dimbleby, but M&S have commented: ‘All our products have clear labelling so that customers can make informed choices about what they buy.’

They point out that there is even a low-calorie Percy, with one-third less sugar — not as attractive as it sounds, given that it contains the sugar-substitute sorbitol, a laxative ingredient that causes wind.

But, unfortunately for Dimbleby, Percy Pig has been benefiting from a following wind for years — and looks likely to continue to do so for many more to come. 

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Air Force Two carrying Mike Pence is forced to return to New Hampshire after being hit by BIRDS

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air force two carrying mike pence is forced to return to new hampshire after being hit by birds

Air Force Two has been forced to return to a New Hampshire airport after it was hit by birds shortly after takeoff. 

The incident occurred Tuesday evening after the plane, carrying Vice President Mike Pence, departed Manchester-Boston Regional Airport en route to Washington, D.C. 

Video shared to Twitter showed the birds striking the aircraft about seven seconds after takeoff, with several sparks subsequently seen coming from the plane’s right engine. 

Pilots managed to turn the plane and safely land back at the airport. There were no reports of any injuries. 

Air Force Two, which was carrying Vice President Mike Pence, was forced to return to a New Hampshire airport Tuesday evening after it was hit by birds. Pence is pictured campaigning in the state

Air Force Two, which was carrying Vice President Mike Pence, was forced to return to a New Hampshire airport Tuesday evening after it was hit by birds. Pence is pictured campaigning in the state

Air Force Two, which was carrying Vice President Mike Pence, was forced to return to a New Hampshire airport Tuesday evening after it was hit by birds. Pence is pictured campaigning in the state 

Air Force Two is seen grounded on Tuesday evening following the bird strike

Air Force Two is seen grounded on Tuesday evening following the bird strike

Air Force Two is seen grounded on Tuesday evening following the bird strike 

Crew were seen inspecting the plane as it sat on the tarmac shortly after nightfall. 

Meanwhile, Mike Pence boarded a C17 cargo plane for the 80 minute flight back to the nation’s capital. 

Assistant Secretary for Health Brett P. Giroir shared of snap of Pence inside the cargo plane. 

‘Air Force 2 has a little different look tonight. Now in a C17 and happy for it! Thanks to the pilots and crew for getting us safely back on the ground,’ Giroir wrote. 

Mike Pence is seen alongside Assistant Health Secretary Brett P. Giroir inside a C17 cargo plane they later used to fly back to D.C.

Mike Pence is seen alongside Assistant Health Secretary Brett P. Giroir inside a C17 cargo plane they later used to fly back to D.C.

Mike Pence is seen alongside Assistant Health Secretary Brett P. Giroir inside a C17 cargo plane they later used to fly back to D.C. 

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PAUL THOMAS on… the new coronavirus restrictions

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paul thomas on the new coronavirus restrictions
33506134 8762391 image a 24 1600824718721

33506134 8762391 image a 24 1600824718721

To order a print of this Paul Thomas cartoon or one by Pugh, visit Mailpictures.newsprints.co.uk or call 0191 6030 178.  

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US military claps back at Russia’s claim its supersonic bomber flew ‘world record’ flight

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us military claps back at russias claim its supersonic bomber flew world record flight

The American military threw cold water on Moscow’s claim its supersonic nuclear-capable strategic bomber broke a world record for longest flight.

Over the weekend, Russian media reported that two Tu-160 ‘Blackjack’ bombers set ‘a world record for [the] longest non-stop flight’ on Saturday totaling more than 25 hours.

‘Two crews of the Long-Range Aviation have set a new record for distance and duration on Tu-160 supersonic strategic missile-carrying bombers,’ Lieutenant General Sergey Kobylash, commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces, told TASS.

The pilots of the bombers flew non-stop for more than 25 hours, ‘covering a distance of more than 20,000 kilometers,’ Kobylash said.

Russian military officials over the weekend claimed that two Tu-160 'Blackjack' supersonic strategic bombers (like the one seen above flying over Moscow on June 24) flew a record flight of more than 25 hours

Russian military officials over the weekend claimed that two Tu-160 'Blackjack' supersonic strategic bombers (like the one seen above flying over Moscow on June 24) flew a record flight of more than 25 hours

Russian military officials over the weekend claimed that two Tu-160 ‘Blackjack’ supersonic strategic bombers (like the one seen above flying over Moscow on June 24) flew a record flight of more than 25 hours

According to Russian media, two Tu-160 planes took off from their home base in Engels in western Russia on Friday. From there they flew more than 12,427 miles eastward over the Arctic and Pacific Oceans. It then turned southward and back toward the west before landing at Engels

According to Russian media, two Tu-160 planes took off from their home base in Engels in western Russia on Friday. From there they flew more than 12,427 miles eastward over the Arctic and Pacific Oceans. It then turned southward and back toward the west before landing at Engels

According to Russian media, two Tu-160 planes took off from their home base in Engels in western Russia on Friday. From there they flew more than 12,427 miles eastward over the Arctic and Pacific Oceans. It then turned southward and back toward the west before landing at Engels

US Strategic Command on Monday never mentioned the Russian claims. In a tweet, it said: ¿A little #MondayMotivation to show what teamwork can accomplish.¿ STRATCOM then went on to list three non-stop flights by its strategic bombers that flew longer than the Russian aircraft.

US Strategic Command on Monday never mentioned the Russian claims. In a tweet, it said: ¿A little #MondayMotivation to show what teamwork can accomplish.¿ STRATCOM then went on to list three non-stop flights by its strategic bombers that flew longer than the Russian aircraft.

US Strategic Command on Monday never mentioned the Russian claims. In a tweet, it said: ‘A little #MondayMotivation to show what teamwork can accomplish.’ STRATCOM then went on to list three non-stop flights by its strategic bombers that flew longer than the Russian aircraft.

RUSSIA’S TUPOLEV  TU-160 BOMBER

Length: 177ft 5in

Wingspan: 182ft 9in (spread)

Weight: 242,505lbs (empty) 

Range: 7,643miles (without refuelling)

Speed: 1,380mph at 40,000ft

Rate of climb: 13,860 ft/min

The Tupolev Tu-160 is the world’s largest operational bomber.

With a crew of four men, the TU-160 can carry 12 Kh-55 cruise missiles as well as 24 Kh-15 attack missiles.

The aircraft is part of the Long Range Aviation branch of the Russian Air Force which is involved with long-range nuclear weapons.

It first entered service during the Soviet Union in 1987. In total, 35 were built with 16 remaining in service with the Russian Air Force.

In 2015, Russia’s Ministry of Defence announced plans to relaunch production, with a contract signed in 2018.

Ten Tu-160M2 are set to be ready for delivery in 2027, costing the Russian government a rumoured £1.19bn.

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‘Nobody has flown this type of aircraft longer.’

The Tu-160 is capable of carrying conventional or nuclear-tipped cruise missiles with a range of 3,410 miles and flying over 7,500 miles without refueling. 

US Strategic Command on Monday never mentioned the Russian claims.

In a tweet, it said: ‘A little #MondayMotivation to show what teamwork can accomplish.’

STRATCOM then went on to list three non-stop flights by its strategic bombers that flew longer than the Russian aircraft.

In 2014, the B-1 Lancer flew for 30 hours straight; In 2001, the B-2 Spirit logged 44 hours consecutively in the air; and the B-52 Stratofortress went 45 hours between taking off and landing in 1957.

‘Together, the combatant commands set the bar for excellence,’ the tweet read. It included the hashtags #Deterrence and #TogetherWeDeliver.

In 2001, the B-2 Spirit logged 44 hours consecutively in the air, beating the Russian 'record,' according to the US military

In 2001, the B-2 Spirit logged 44 hours consecutively in the air, beating the Russian 'record,' according to the US military

In 2001, the B-2 Spirit logged 44 hours consecutively in the air, beating the Russian ‘record,’ according to the US military

Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit  

  • Cruising Speed: Classified – believed to be high subsonic  
  • Range: 6,000 miles, 10,000 miles with one aerial refueling
  • Payload: Capable of carrying 16 B61 Nuclear free fall bombs or 80 conventional 500lbs bombs 
  • Crew: Two 

One of the most advanced aircraft ever built, the B-2 Spirit America’s premier strategic bomber. It’s ‘flying wing’ design allows it to penetrate enemy radar systems to deliver either nuclear or conventional weapons. 

The project was originally conceived during the Carter administration in 1976 as a way to counter the Soviet threat. It was shrouded in secrecy and cost nearly $45billion to develop until it’s first flight in 1989.

With just one air-to-air refueling the B-2 is capable of flying an astonishing 10,000 miles. This means that there is rarely a need to deploy it outside the U.S., except in cases where the American government wants to project a show of force.  

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According to Russian media, two Tu-160 planes took off from their home base in Engels in western Russia on Friday.

From there they flew more than 12,427 miles eastward over the Arctic and Pacific Oceans. It then turned southward and back toward the west before landing at Engels.

The Russian Ministry of Defense told The Drive that the Tu-160s were refueled in the air three times by six Il-78 Midas tankers.

Interestingly, the strategic bombers were escorted by Su-35S Flanker fighters as well as ‘foreign aircraft along certain sections of their route.’

Those ‘foreign aircraft’ turned out to be US Air Force F-22A Raptors and an E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft.

The American planes identified the Russian aircraft as it flew in the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

The North American Aerospace Defense Command confirmed the encounters on its Twitter feed on Saturday.

‘#NORAD F-22 Raptors and an E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, supported by KC-135 air refuelers, positively identified two Tu-160 bombers and two Su-35 fighter aircraft entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) three times last night,’ NORAD Command tweeted on Saturday.

The B-52 Stratofortress went 45 hours between taking off and landing in 1957, according to the US military

The B-52 Stratofortress went 45 hours between taking off and landing in 1957, according to the US military

The B-52 Stratofortress went 45 hours between taking off and landing in 1957, according to the US military

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

  • Top speed: 650mph 
  • Range: 8,800 miles 
  • Payload:  Capable of carrying nuclear weapons or 70,000lbs worth of conventional weapons 
  • Crew: Five

The B-52 was initially designed as a high-altitude nuclear bomber. But when it was first introduced in 1955, few could have imagined it would still be flying more than six decades later.

It has seen action in Vietnam – where it flew more than 120,000 missions – as well as in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan. It was also the main strategic nuclear deterrent during much of the early Cold War. 

Pilots joke that the plane’s air-frame is older then them or their father’s – which is testament to the original engineers. The B-52 is nicknamed the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat Fellow) for its appearance and difficulty to fly.

There are plans to keep the B-52 in service beyond 2040, which could mean it could have been flying for a full century.  

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‘Although the Russian aircraft loitered in the ADIZ for approx. four hours total over the three incursions and came within 50 nautical miles of Alaska’s Nunavik Island, they remained in international airspace and at no time entered United States or Canadian sovereign airspace.

‘The re-emergence of strategic competition between nations, and competitors who overtly challenge the free and open international order, characterizes our complex global security environment,’ said General Glen VanHerck, the commander of NORAD.

‘As competitors increase their reach, range and capability, our continental defense operations must be ready to detect, deter and defeat against threats in all domains.’

NORAD tweeted: ‘NORAD employs a layered defense network of radars, satellites, and fighter and early warning aircraft to ID aircraft and determine the appropriate response.

‘The ID and monitoring of aircraft entering US/CAN ADIZ demonstrates NORAD’s aerospace warning and control missions.’

Meanwhile, the American military continues to fly its own strategic bombers not far from Russia’s borders.

In 2014, the B-1 Lancer (like the one seen in the above file photo) flew for 30 hours straight

In 2014, the B-1 Lancer (like the one seen in the above file photo) flew for 30 hours straight

In 2014, the B-1 Lancer (like the one seen in the above file photo) flew for 30 hours straight

Rockwell B1-B Lancer 

  • Top Speed: 900-plus mph
  • Range: Intercontinental 
  • Payload: Capable of carrying nuclear weapons and up to 75,000lbs of ordnance internally -the equivalent of 24 misiles
  • Crew: Four

Nicknamed ‘The Bone’ for its sleek look, the swing-wing B-1B Lancer was originally designed as an incredibly fast strategic bomber that could penetrate the Soviet Union’s airspace.

However, the collapse of the USSR meant that there was a reduced need for the United States’ nuclear bombers, so the B-1 was assigned a conventional role in the mid-1990s. 

In the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia six B-1Bs flew two per cent of strike missions but dropped 20 per cent of the total ordnance. 

It has been nearly continuously deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001.

It has also recently seen action in Libya and Syria. Upgrades will ensure the plane is in service up until at least 2040. 

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Last Monday, three B-52 Stratofortress bombers flew a joint training mission over the Black Sea alongside fighters jets from NATO allies Ukraine and Romania.

Earlier this month, six US B-52s joined allied planes in a NATO exercise for the first time as air forces flew over all 30 nations in a single day.

Fighter jets took to the skies as the United States Air Force was joined by the UK’s Royal Air Force and others in a huge training exercise.

Around 80 aircraft flew in Exercise Point Blank on September 10, including some from the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

The US B-52 bomber planes took part for the first time this year, with other aircraft joining from an American base in Italy and USAF’s Europe and Africa units.

The annual operation is designed to hone tactics and ensure readiness among allied nations.

NATO said: ‘Six US air force B-52 bombers flew over all 30 NATO allies in one day.

‘They were escorted by 80 allied fighter aircraft, boosting their ability to train and operate together.’  

Last month, the US military accused Russian fighter pilots of conducting an ‘unsafe and unprofessional’ intercept of a nuclear-capable B-52 bomber that was conducting ‘routine operations’ over the Black Sea.

According to a statement from the Air Force, two Russian Su-27 jets crossed to within 100ft of the nose of the B-52 multiple times as the US bomber flew over international airspace on August 28.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command confirmed that US fighter planes escorted the two Russian strategic bombers which approached Alaskan airspace

The North American Aerospace Defense Command confirmed that US fighter planes escorted the two Russian strategic bombers which approached Alaskan airspace

The North American Aerospace Defense Command confirmed that US fighter planes escorted the two Russian strategic bombers which approached Alaskan airspace

33503694 8761971 image a 30 1600819794247

33503694 8761971 image a 30 1600819794247

33503696 8761971 image a 28 1600819769130

33503696 8761971 image a 28 1600819769130

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33503698 8761971 image a 32 1600819802796

33503698 8761971 image a 32 1600819802796

The US military said the Russian pilots’ shift to afterburner mode caused turbulence for the American aircraft, limiting the pilot’s ability to maneuver.

In modern aviation, when pilots activate afterburners, it injects fuel directly into the exhaust stream of a turbine engine, increasing the thrust so that the aircraft can accelerate.

‘Actions like these increase the potential for midair collisions, are unnecessary, and inconsistent with good airmanship and international flight rules,’ said General Jeff Harrigian of US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander.

‘While the Russian aircraft were operating in international airspace, they jeopardized the safety of flight of the aircraft involved.

‘We expect them to operate within international standards set to ensure safety and prevent accidents.’

The Russian government did not share the American assessment of the incident.

On September 10, six US B-52s (one pictured leading a formation over the North Sea) joined allied planes in a NATO exercise for the first time as air forces flew over all 30 nations in a single day

On September 10, six US B-52s (one pictured leading a formation over the North Sea) joined allied planes in a NATO exercise for the first time as air forces flew over all 30 nations in a single day

On September 10, six US B-52s (one pictured leading a formation over the North Sea) joined allied planes in a NATO exercise for the first time as air forces flew over all 30 nations in a single day

Last month, video released by the Russian Ministry of Defense shows an American B-52 bomber being intercepted by Russian Su-27 jets over the Black Sea

Last month, video released by the Russian Ministry of Defense shows an American B-52 bomber being intercepted by Russian Su-27 jets over the Black Sea

Last month, video released by the Russian Ministry of Defense shows an American B-52 bomber being intercepted by Russian Su-27 jets over the Black Sea

The Defense Ministry in Moscow said in a statement that the American B-52 was ‘approaching the state border of the Russian Federation.’

‘To identify the air target and prevent violation of the state border of Russia, two Su-27 fighters were raised into the air,’ according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

‘After the foreign military plane turned away from the state border, the Russian fighter safely returned to the home airfield.

‘The entire flight of Russian Su-27 fighters took place strictly in accordance with international rules for the use of airspace.

‘The American aircraft was not allowed to violate the state border of the Russian Federation.’

The B-52 was conducting 'routine operations' over the Black Sea on the morning of August 28 when two Russian Su-27s crossed within 100ft of its nose multiple times in international airspace, the Air Force said in a statement Saturday. One of Su-27s is seen pulling up next to the B-52's left wing

The B-52 was conducting 'routine operations' over the Black Sea on the morning of August 28 when two Russian Su-27s crossed within 100ft of its nose multiple times in international airspace, the Air Force said in a statement Saturday. One of Su-27s is seen pulling up next to the B-52's left wing

The B-52 was conducting ‘routine operations’ over the Black Sea on the morning of August 28 when two Russian Su-27s crossed within 100ft of its nose multiple times in international airspace, the Air Force said in a statement Saturday. One of Su-27s is seen pulling up next to the B-52’s left wing

The Su-27 is seen flying directly in front of the B-52 in a dangerous maneuver referred to as 'thumping' or a 'head-butt'

The Su-27 is seen flying directly in front of the B-52 in a dangerous maneuver referred to as 'thumping' or a 'head-butt'

The Su-27 is seen flying directly in front of the B-52 in a dangerous maneuver referred to as ‘thumping’ or a ‘head-butt’

The Russian government claims that the B-52 was flying toward the Russian border, while the Americans say the bomber was in international airspace

The Russian government claims that the B-52 was flying toward the Russian border, while the Americans say the bomber was in international airspace

The Russian government claims that the B-52 was flying toward the Russian border, while the Americans say the bomber was in international airspace

Russia has bristled at US and its NATO allies deploying troops and weapons near its borders, and has used its nuclear-capable fighter jets in the past to flex its military muscles under the nose of the United States. 

In 2018, two ‘Blackjacks’ flew over the Caribbean Sea during a 10-hour training mission with the Venezuelan Air Force amid escalating tensions between Moscow and Washington DC, coupled with allegations of meddling in Caracas. 

The Russian bombers’ deployment infuriated Washington, where US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo characterized the joint training session as ‘two corrupt governments squandering public funds, and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer.’ 

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