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Canadian Defense Minister Rob Nicholson has called an incident between a Canadian navy frigate and three Russian military jets "unnecessarily provocative." The warship was performing a NATO exercise in the Black Sea, just off Ukraine's southern coast. The jets "buzzed" the ship, meaning they flew just above them quickly, which can be seen as an act of intimidation. 

While it is not illegal or a true threat, it was viewed as an act of defiance from the Russians by the Canadian military during a time of heightened tensions between Russia and the Western world. (Increased sanctions against Russia are set to debut today.) Nicholson said Russia's actions "risk escalating tensions even further."

Russia, of course, claims they did nothing wrong. Their Defense Ministry claims the flights were planned, issuing this statement to RIA Novosti, "On September 7, 2014, the crew of two aircraft, an Su-24 and an An-26 from the Russian Air Force, successfully completed planned flights over neutral waters of the Black Sea in the area of the state borders of the Russian Federation."

Russian Major General Igor Konashenkov said the Russian planes "did not approach the foreign warship" though buzzing a plane implies quite a close proximity. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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