Last week, two Russian SU-24 fighter planes buzzed a US Navy destroyer over the Baltic Sea. One of the planes flew within 30 feet of the ship, according to US officials. Secretary of State John Kerry protested, saying that the Russians were endangering the destroyer. The media in the West concluded that the Russians were simulating an attack on the destroyer. The Russians made no official statement, though a spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry commented to Interfax that Russia had done nothing that violated international laws or that endangered the destroyer or its crew. He expressed surprise that the Americans felt the need to be so “touchy”—and he was clearly pleased at the American response. Unofficially, the Russians dramatically inflated their account of what they did—an embellishment in many ways far more interesting than buzzing the destroyer.
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July 19, 2018