TORONTO (AP) — A Canadian navy frigate taking part in a NATO exercise in the Black Sea was buzzed by three Russian military jets off the southern coast of Ukraine in an "unnecessarily provocative" incident, Defense Minister Rob Nicholson said Monday.
While the incident Sunday did not pose a threat, Nicholson said it risks escalating tensions in the region even further at a time when a fragile ceasefire is just taking hold.
Two Russian Su-24 Fencer fighter jets and a surveillance plane buzzed the frigate.
Nicholson said Canada and its allies are taking part in reassurance measures as a "direct result of the Putin regime's military aggression and invasion of Ukraine."
Russia's defense ministry has brushed off the accusation.
Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told Russian news agencies on Tuesday that the Russian jets were indeed flying in that area but were behaving "strictly in line with international rules."