Russia Is Playing a Dangerous Game of Chicken With U.S. Forces In the Baltic

This is totally uncool.
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Russian Su-24 fighter Wikimedia

Russian Su-24 (Photo: Alexander Mishin / Wikimedia)

Russia has been playing chicken with American naval forces in the Baltic Sea, and there's video to prove it. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Russian Su-24 fighters flew dangerously close to the USS Donald Cook, a Navy destroyer. 

An anonymous official described Su-24s as swooping so close to the U.S. vessel, that the water around the ship raised wakes. A video noted in a tweet from a CBS Radio foreign affairs correspondent seemed to show about 20 seconds of footage from the incident.

The AP reported that the Cook hasn't contended with Russian jets alone:

On Tuesday a Russian KA-26 submarine-hunting helicopter circled the Cook seven times, taking photographs, the official said. Later that day another pair of Su-24 attack planes, apparently unarmed, buzzed the Cook 11 times. At one point, at least one of the planes came within 30 feet of the ship in what the U.S. official said was a highly unusual maneuver.

On both days, the crew of the Cook attempted to contact the Russian aircraft by radio but received no response, the official said.

American officials believe Russian actions were in violation of an agreement with the old Soviet Union that remains in force today. 

This was just one of several incidents in the last five years that seemed to indicate a marked shift toward the bellicose. In October 2014 alone, NATO reported an alarmingly large number of Russian intercepts, and the Russians generally haven't backed down. 

With the annexation of Crimea and ongoing conflict in Ukraine, former Soviet states and current NATO and American allies such as Poland have grown more and more nervous about Putin's ambitions. 

Still, the AP noted that it wasn't clear as to whether the United States would make any kind of formal protest of the incidents in the Baltic Sea. Perhaps the Obama administration is taking a "wait and see" attitude.

With Russian intervention in Syria to help Assad stay in power as well as tensions on the rise between Turkey and Syria, we may not have to wait very long for another incident.

h/t AP