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On March 3, seven Russian attack planes took off from Novofederovka airbase in Crimea. They flew out over the Black Sea, right toward two NATO warships, the U.S. guided-missile cruiser Vicksburg and the Turkish frigate Tugutreis.

Russia’s state-owned media described the mission as a reconnaissance exercise. The planes practiced tracking the ships from a distance while staying just outside the range from which the vessels could theoretically shoot back.

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