“The Russians seek air battles” warn US officials, revealing that Russian fighters are trying to engage US fighters over Syria.

On April 19, the US Central Command released video of Russian fighter jets intercepting US aircraft over Syria on two separate occasions, as tensions continue to escalate between the two countries. One video shows infrared footage of a Russian Su-35 intercepting a US vessel.

A second, lower-quality video, shot on April 2, shows what US forces say is “a Russian Su-35 conducting an unsafe and unprofessional interception with a US F-16.”

Russian jets are trying to provoke US aircraft into dogfights over Syria, top US officials have confirmed. US military chiefs have told their pilots not to respond to the provocations, but admit that the dangerous maneuvers are deeply disturbing.

Moscow and Washington have a direct “de-escalation line,” set up to avoid any incidents, with direct communication between the two sides, but since early March, Russian aircraft have violated de-escalation protocols a total of 85 times, an official told CNN on Saturday — including of flying too close to international coalition bases.

There are 26 cases in which Russian warplanes flew over US and international coalition positions in Syria. US officials on April 2 and April 18 released videos showing Russian jets coming dangerously close to their planes.