An image of the Russian-made SU-30 Flanker. Photo: United States Southern Command

The United States Southern Command criticized Russia as it released images Sunday of a Venezuelan fighter jet it said "aggressively shadowed" a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft flying over the Caribbean last week.

Details: The Russian-made SU-30 Flanker approached the U.S. Navy EP-3 Aries II "at an unsafe distance" in international airspace and in an "unprofessional manner" on Friday, the United States Southern Command said in a statement.

"This action demonstrates Russia’s irresponsible military support to [Venezuelan President Nicolás] Maduro's illegitimate regime & underscores Maduro’s recklessness & irresponsible behavior, which undermines int’l rule of law & efforts to counter illicit trafficking."
— United States Southern Command statement

The other side: Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López said the American plane entered Venezuelan airspace without earlier notification, violating international rules and endangering commercial flights from the country’s main airport, according to the Washington Post.

The big picture: The incident comes amid a months-long power struggle between Maduro and Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has the support of the U.S. — which has imposed sanctions on the country in an attempt to pressure Maduro to step down.

Go deeper: In oil-rich Venezuela, fuel shortages spark man-made famines

Go deeper

SurveyMonkey poll: Trump improves, but not enough

Trump and Biden during the final debate. Photo: Xinhua/Liu Jie via Getty Images

President Trump's final debate performance exceeded Americans' expectations, but it wasn't enough to shift the dynamics that left him trailing Joe Biden across most measures, according to a new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll.

What they're saying: "Liar" was the word used most by debate watchers to describe Trump's performance, followed by "lies," "strong," "presidential" and "childish." "Presidential" was the word used most to describe Biden's performance, followed by "liar," "weak," "expected" and "honest."

Hunter Biden saga dominates online debate

Data: NewsWhip; Table: Axios Visuals

The mainstream media turned away. But online, President Trump's charges about Hunter Biden were by far the dominant storyline about the final presidential debate, according to exclusive NewsWhip data provided to Axios.

  • Coverage of business dealings by Joe Biden's son — and pre-debate allegations by one of his former business associates, Tony Bobulinski — garnered more than twice as much online activity (likes, comments, shares) as the runner-up.