Turkey scrambles jets after Russian plane flies near its Black Sea coast

ISTANBUL Tue Mar 4, 2014 8:38am EST

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ISTANBUL (Reuters) - The Turkish Air Force scrambled eight F-16 fighter jets after a Russian surveillance plane flew parallel along its Black Sea coast, the military said on Tuesday, amid increased tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine.

The incident occurred on Monday and the Russian plane remained in international airspace, according to a statement on the website of the military General Staff.

Ukraine's Crimea peninsula, which juts into the north of the Black Sea, is at the center of the current standoff between Russia and Ukraine's new pro-Western government. NATO member Turkey forms the southern coastline of the Black Sea.

(Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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