Vladimir Putin has risked sparking World War Three after Russian jets made an "unsafe and unprofessional approach" on NATO forces.
NATO vowed to "respond appropriately to any interference" in the aftermath.
On Tuesday (November 15) the world held its breath as it appeared two Russian missiles may have crossed over into Poland, a NATO member, killing two people.
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There were genuine fears that Poland could trigger Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, forcing all other members to respond, or Article 4 – calling on allies to consult together when "in the opinion of any one of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened".
Since then, Polish President Andrzej Duda said there were no signs it was an intentional attack.
NATO also suggested the missiles may have been Ukrainian, something Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed.
Although that situation eventually and thankfully died down, yesterday (Thursday, November 17) Russia came perilously close to NATO – perhaps for a second time this week if Zelensky is to be believed.
NATO released a statement today, revealing that two Russian jets over the Baltic Sea made an "unsafe and unprofessional approach" toward Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) – one of NATO's naval reaction forces.
It said that SNMG1 was conducting routine operations in the Baltic Sea at the time.
The statement added: "The Russian pilots failed to respond to Allied forces’ standing query communications and overflew the force at an altitude of 300 feet and a distance of 80 yards.
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"NATO deemed the interaction unsafe and unprofessional since it was conducted in a known danger area, which was activated for air defence training, and due to the aircraft altitude and proximity. The interaction increased the risk of miscalculations, mistakes, and accidents.
"NATO forces acted responsibly, fulfilling their mission, in full compliance with international air and maritime regulations.
"NATO will respond appropriately to any interference with NATO’s lawful activity in the area that endangers the safety of our aircraft, ships or their crews. NATO does not seek confrontation and poses no threat."
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