For the past two weeks, Russian jets have been buzzing U.S. naval ships and aircraft in the Baltics which has led to escalating tensions and a concerning silence from U.S. officials.
On Monday, Adm. John M. Richardson told reporters at the Pentagon that, "My hope is that we can stop this sort of activity."
"I don't think the Russians are trying to provoke an incident. I think they're trying to send a signal," he said. "I think it's pretty clear that they are wanting to let us know that they see that we are up there in the Baltic."
Russian SU-27s conducted a barrel rolls on Friday over a U.S. Air Force RC-135 that was flying a reconnaissance mission above the Baltic Sea. In April, two Russian jets flew dangerously close to the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea.
Richardson said the actions increase the chance of a "tactical miscalculation," but the U.S. would tamp down any rise in tensions between the two countries. "We look for sort of a normalization there," he said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last week defended the actions of Russian warplanes that buzzed the USS Donald Cook, saying the pilots decided to take a look at the U.S. Navy destroyer "from a safe distance."
A Russian representative said after the destroyer incident that, "This is about attempts to exercise military pressure on Russia. We will take all necessary measures, precautions, to compensate for these attempts to use military force."