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As bloodless encounters go, Tuesday’s face-off between a Russian surveillance plane and South Korean fighter jets was as vicious as they come.

South Korean officials said their F-15 fighters fired several hundred warning shots and flares as they intercepted a Russian A-50 surveillance plane they say entered territorial airspace claimed by Seoul. The Russian aircraft, which was on patrol with Chinese jets, then withdrew, and Moscow and Seoul have been arguing diplomatically since then over where fault might really lie.

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