On December 3, 2021, at 9:43 p.m. sea ​​published by the Russian Defense Ministry. However, an operative check of the video news of the Ministry of the Russian Federation on their official website, «Facebook» page and «YouTube» page showed the absence of such information. On December 4, 2021, Russian resources «Lenta.ru», TASS, «Interfax» and a number of other Russian news agencies continued their campaign on this news item, including with reference to information from «Rosaviatsia»`s press services, which is also missing on the official website, as well as on «Aeroflot» one.

It follows from the generalized reports that the incident allegedly became known from the information of the Russia’s National Defense Control Center, namely, that Russian airspace control systems allegedly set two targets in the direction of the Russian border. It was stated that Su-27 and Su-30 fighters were lifted into the air to identify air targets. The pilots identified the air targets as the US Air Force’s RC-135V “Rivet Joint” strategic reconnaissance aircraft and the US Army’s CL-600 “Artemis” reconnaissance and targeting aircraft and escorted them over the Black Sea. After the crews of American planes changed course, the Russian fighters returned to the base airfield.

That is, there is routine military activity, but this was not enough for Russian propaganda. This issue was presented as an international aviation incident, which allegedly “requires a diplomatic response with a diplomatic note”, although the official website of the Russia’s Foreign Ministry also lacks relevant information.

According to generalized Russian reports, on December 3, 2021, at 8:53 Kyiv time, a NATO CL-600 reconnaissance aircraft flew over the Black Sea with an intensive descent from an altitude of 11,000 to an altitude of 9,200 meters, crossing the route established for civil aircraft’s traffic services. The crew of the US reconnaissance aircraft allegedly “did not respond to repeated requests from air traffic services”, although the above-mentioned area was almost simultaneously the routes of two civilian aircraft: with the call sign A333 Aeroflot, flying from Ben Gurion Airport Aviv to Sheremetyevo Airport, and the Maltese-owned CL650, which operated a flight from Sochi Airport to Skopje Airport.

The crew of the Airbus A333 SU501, which was flying from Tel Aviv to Moscow and had 142 passengers on board, allegedly reported an on-board alarm about a dangerous approach. Russian propaganda mentioned that there were allegedly less than 20 meters between the planes vertically, i.e. between the TASS tapes one should guess about the threat to civilian passengers. It was stated that “the measures taken by Russian air traffic controllers changed the directions and echelons of flights of civil aircraft, thus ensuring the safe conduct of flights in the area over the open waters of the Black Sea”.

But experts checked the information on specialized resources, and saw that during the divergence, the Russian passenger plane was traveling at an altitude of 36,000 feet, a little less than 11,000 meters, while the American R135 occupied an echelon of 31,500 feet, or 9,600 meters, which is much lower. The difference in altitude is almost one and a half kilometers, which does not lead to a dangerous rapprochement; moreover, if we talk about a dangerous descent, it could only be a maneuver of a Russian plane.

As for the Sochi-Skopje flight, it crossed the CL-600 Artemis much later, and on the opposite course it could only be blocked by a Russian plane en route from Istanbul to Kazan or by itself.

Thus, without any real reason, the official reference said that, according to “Rosaviatsia”, “the increased intensity of NATO flights near Russia’s borders, including over the Black Sea, creates risks of dangerous incidents involving civilian aircraft”. In addition, the Russian aviation authorities have even announced their intention to protest through diplomatic channels, as “these flights of military aircraft without radio communication pose a risk to the safety of civilian aircraft in the Black Sea region”.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told a briefing in Washington that the US military did not consider it risky to operate its reconnaissance plane over the Black Sea, and that if a Russian civilian plane was forced to change course, such a “problem was easily solved using common sense”. So it seems, that Russian specialists in information and psychological operations “dispersed” another fake, how it has been many times before. But then the story continued.

After all, the following message appeared on the official website of the Ministry of Defense of Belarus: “On December 5, 2021, a military attaché at the Embassy of Ukraine in the Republic of Belarus was summoned to the Department of International Military Cooperation of the Ministry of Defense, he was handed a note of protest in connection with the increasing violations by the Ukrainian side of the State Border of the Republic of Belarus in the airspace. The reason was the violation on December 4, 2021 of the State Border of the Republic of Belarus in the airspace by a Ukrainian helicopter type Mi-8 in the area of Nova Rudnya”.

Of course, this is also a fake. Both fakes were very closely related in time and worked out, as they say “under the copier”. They testify to a single decision-making center and joint actions of the “partners” with the probable aim of taking subversive measures against the national interests of Ukraine.

However, US reconnaissance flights over the Black Sea are crucial in measuring regional security and will continue.

In particular, on December 6, 2021, US military aircraft Bombardier Challenger 650 “Artemis” of the US Army and Boeing RC-135V “Rivet Joint” of the US Air Force again worked on the Black Sea waters.

On December 7, 2021, the US Army’s Bombardier Challenger 650 “Artemis” electronic reconnaissance aircraft with flight number N488CR and call sign BRIO68 flew over the Black Sea along the coast of the occupied Crimean peninsula for its third flight in a week, departing from Constanta airport in Romania.

It is worth noting that the system “Artemis” (short for “Airborne Reconnaissance and Targeting Multi-Mission Intelligence System”) was officially introduced on August 6, 2020 by the Executive Office of the US Army Program, which published some details about this platform. It provides reconnaissance at high altitudes, eliminating gaps in other methods of air reconnaissance. The capabilities of the system in July 2020 were tested at the American air base Kadena, on the Japanese island of Okinawa, then the aforementioned Bombardier Chalenger 650 airliner N488CR flew to the Romanian air base “Mihail Kogelnicanu” near Constanta.

In our region, this air reconnaissance for the first time conducted a long-term mission on the border of Georgia and Armenia on October 7, 2020, performing tasks to monitor the new hot phase of the military conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Then the Artemis aircraft did so on a systematic basis.

The American media reported that “Artemis” is the first military reconnaissance jet, it has a high-precision detection and analysis system HADES – a sensor complex that combines powerful radar and supersensitive receivers with elements of artificial intelligence. From an altitude of more than 11,000 meters, the system scans hundreds of kilometers of water and land in all directions; it is able to detect relatively small objects, such as warships, and small moving targets on land, such as tanks or armored personnel carriers. In the US military, this is called “deep sounding”.

It is believed that this system has not only multi-purpose reconnaissance functions, but that it is also «capable of performing high-precision weapons guidance tasks, more specifically supporting multidomain operations (MDOs), including large-scale ground combat operations, and filling gaps in high-precision detection and warning sensors. targeting long distances and understanding the situation». In view of the above-pointed, the Russian military from the occupation contingent in Crimea probably has something to worry about and to use such propaganda statements.