There’s nothing like respect among “colleagues,” eh? A day after its fighter pilots buzzed the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea, the Russian government acted puzzled as to why the US protested at all. All they did was turn away after spotting the ship, the Russians claimed, and sneered that their “American colleagues” had such a “painful reaction”:

Russia said Thursday it does not understand the “painful reaction from our American colleagues” after two of its warplanes made low passes over a U.S. Navy destroyer.

The Su-24 fighter jets were filmed “buzzing” the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea, about 70 miles from Russia’s Kaliningrad province, on Monday and Tuesday. …

Russian Ministry of Defense spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov hit back Thursday, saying that “upon visual contact, the Russian pilots have executed a turnaway from the ship, compliant to all safety regulations.” …

In a statement, he said: “To be honest, we don’t understand such a painful reaction from our American colleagues.”

Yeah, they were compliant with all safety regulations … eleven times. Perhaps the Russian fighters should be checked for short-term memory loss, having not figured out that the Donald Cook was there until after the eleventh run. This is nothing but an expression of contempt for the US, and it’s not the first one either. A similar incident took place in October with the USS Ronald Reagan, which prompted the White House to issue this reaction:

“Not particularly dangerous,” eh? I guess that showed the Russians! Yesterday’s response was much stronger, as Josh Earnest called the fly-bys “irritating” and that it raised “safety concerns”:

It raises safety concerns, all right … for eastern Europe. Allahpundit noted yesterday that the NATO defenses of former Soviet satellites in the Baltic — Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania — are particularly poor. Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and seizure of Crimea were predicated on Moscow’s “responsibility to protect” ethnic Russians who supposedly were being mistreated. He’s made similar claims about ethnic Russians in the Baltic states too. A Russian attack on NATO states had been unthinkable after the fall of the Berlin Wall, but renewed Russian aggression has put it right back in the realm of possibility — as has Western fecklessness about the true nature of Putin and Russia in this administration, and to be fair, in much of the previous administration as well.