Report says military encounters between Russia and West are rising, could lead to escalation

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A London-based think tank says Russian forces have been involved in dozens of close encounters with Western militaries since Moscow annexed Crimea — and that both sides risk losing control over events.

A study by the European Leadership Network released Monday offers details on 40 incidents and says that they add up to a disturbing pattern over a wide geographic area.

It singles out three incidents in the last eight months as being particularly high risk: a near-collision between a SAS civilian airliner and a Russian surveillance plane; the abduction of an Estonian intelligence officer and a Swedish submarine hunt.

Tensions have been high since Russia's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in March. Alliance pilots have conducted 100 intercepts this year — three times more than in 2013.