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U.S. Navy Chief Says Buzzing By Russian Jets Raises Tensions In Baltics

Russian pilots are escalating tensions with the West by buzzing U.S. military targets in the Baltics, the U.S. chief of naval operations has said.

"My hope is that we can stop this sort of activity," Admiral John Richardson told Pentagon reporters on May 2. "It just sort of raises the overall tension in the region, so we look for sort of normalization there."

Richardson said the repeated buzzing increased the chance of a "tactical miscalculation," although "I don't think the Russians are trying to provoke an incident. I think they're trying to send a signal."

The Pentagon said a Russian Su-27 performed a barrel roll on April 29 over a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance plane in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, while in April a Russian jet flew about 15 meters from the wingtip of a U.S. aircraft and two jets buzzed a U.S. aircraft carrier.

The Pentagon has called the encounters "unsafe and unprofessional."

Russian officials have said the incidents were provoked by U.S. planes and ships moving close to the Russian border.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

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