Russia defends pilots who buzzed U.S. Navy ship

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(FOX NEWS) Russian defense officials Thursday rejected U.S. criticism of two Russian pilots who buzzed an American guided-missile destroyer in the Baltic Sea earlier this week.

A defense official told Fox News that two Russian Su-24 attack aircraft approached the USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) at an “unsafe” speed and altitude as a helicopter was taking off from the flight deck. The jets came within 1,000 yards of the destroyer in their initial encounter Monday. The following day, a Russian jet came within just feet of the destroyer.

“As a safety precaution, flight operations were suspended until the Su-24s departed the area,” said the U.S. European Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in that area.

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