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US Navy Chief Calls for Normalized Relations with Russia in Baltics

FILE - A Russian aircraft makes a flyover pass near the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea, April 12, 2016.

The head of the U.S. Navy says the United States and Russia need to normalize their relations in the Baltics to avoid possible dangerous encounters between Russian planes and U.S. ships.

Admiral John Richardson told reporters Monday at the Pentagon that recent close encounters in the Baltic increase the chance for what he calls a "tactical miscalculation." He said he hopes this kind of activity will stop.

"I don't think the Russians are trying to provoke an incident," Richardson said. "I think they're trying to send a signal. I think it's pretty clear that they are willing to let us know that they see that we are up there in the Baltics."

A Russian warplane performed maneuvers above a U.S. jet flying over the Baltic Sea on Friday, weeks after Russian jets flew dangerously close to the warship USS Donald Cook off the coast of Kaliningrad.

NATO has bolstered its military presence in Eastern Europe and the Baltics since Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea in 2014.