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Russia dismisses US report of Baltic encounter
Russia's military has dismissed a report by the US European Command that a Russian jet made aggressive maneuvers near a US reconnaissance plane over the Baltic Sea.
Igor Konashenkov in a statement on Sunday dismissed the report as "running counter to reality," noting that Russian air defenses had to scramble the jet after detecting a high-speed unidentified target over the Baltic Sea heading for its borders.
The US reconnaissance plane changed course after making visual contact with the Russian jet, Konashenkov added.
The Russian spokesman stressed that the flight of the Russian warplane was in "strict conformity with international laws ... and there were no emergency situations."
The remarks come after US Defense Department announced Thursday that a Russian SU-27 jet flew dangerously close to the American aircraft, which was flying a routine route in international airspace over the Baltic Sea.
US European Command spokesman Danny Hernandez said that the Su-27 fighter "performed erratic and aggressive maneuvers" by flying within 50 feet of a US RC-135 aircraft.
Hernandez said that the "unsafe and unprofessional actions of a single pilot have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries."
This has been a second incident in the volatile region between the Cold War-era foes in the past week.
Also on Tuesday, two Russian Su-24 bombers reportedly buzzed the Donald Cook, a US guided missile destroyer, in the Baltic Sea. A US military official describing the incident as one of the most aggressive interactions in recent memory.
US Secretary of State John Kerry denounced as dangerous and provocative the military encounter in the Baltic Sea region.
The government of Russian President Vladimir Putin accuses the US-led NATO military alliance of expanding towards Russia's borders. Moscow has also repeatedly objected to NATO's military build-up near Russia’s borders.
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