The US Navy has released a video of two Russian fighter jets of the Russian Air Force Su-24 jets making low-altitude passes near the destroyer USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea on April 11 and 12, 2016. Several of the passes made came as close as 30 yards from the USS Donald Cook missile destroyer. which is around three car lengths.

The Russian fighter jets were ​Sukhoi Su-24. Although they were unarmed, ​the Russian fighter jets flew as close as 30 feet in what U.S. officials called “simulated attacks.”  ​A Russian Ka-27 Helix helicopter also appeared alongside the vessel to take photos of the ship​ and its crew.

Russian Fighter Jets

As the incident occurred, the US ship was engaged in training exercises with a Polish helicopter. They had to suspend the exercise when the Russian fighter jets appeared. The US destroyer in question only has a small landing pad on which the helicopter could land and take off. Wind from the Russia flybys could have endangered everyone on deck.

By buzzing U.S. Navy destroyers, Russia did what a dog does—pissing on a tree and marking its territory.

Micah Halpern

If you’re questioning the reasoning behind the behavior of the Russian fighter jets and the tactics of Russian military commanders, I would like to quote Micah Halpern who said the following in an article on the Observer”With all due respect to sophisticated Russian military thought and ingenuity, we can best understand this action by taking a page from the animal kingdom. Russia did what a dog does—pissing on a tree and marking its territory. The Baltic Sea is their neighborhood and not—despite being in international waters—under the control of the United States. Russia wants the US to clearly understand that this is their home turf, not communal property.”

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Batya (Батя) is the founder of Reaper Feed. He is an international security advisor and a high-risk expedition leader across former and active conflict zones such as Eastern Ukraine, unrecognized post-Soviet states, the North Caucasus, and the Middle East. Batya founded Reaper Feed to provide unprecedented insight into the lesser-seen sides of human conflict and modern warfare. He is from the UK but his work means he is based in various countries around the world.