U.S. authorities say a Venezuelan fighter jet “aggressively shadowed” an American intelligence plane flying in international airspace over the Caribbean, underscoring rising tensions between the two nations.
The U.S. Southern Command said Sunday that Venezuela’s action demonstrates reckless behavior by President Nicolas Maduro, whose government accused the U.S. of breaking international rules.
U.S. authorities say their EP-3 plane was performing a multi-nationally approved mission and the Venezuelan SU-30 fighter jet closely trailed the plane, which the U.S. says endangered its crew.
Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez says the U.S. plane entered Venezuelan airspace without prior notification.
He says it also endangered commercial flights from Venezuela’s main airport.
The U.S. backs opposition leader Juan Guaido’s attempt to oust Maduro.