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Flat Earth: Hotheads cooled

THE Russian officers who commandeered a research ship in Odessa two weeks ago - and nearly brought the two most powerful former Soviet republics to blows over the Black Sea Fleet - have been decorated.

After awarding the medals in Sevastopol, the fleet's base, Pavel Grachev, the defence minister, went on to say that 'unfortunately there is another nation which insists on the fleet's division and we must take account of this'. Then, according to Tass, he 'cooled the tempers' of some pilots serving on the fleet's aircraft carriers who had suggested 'taking off without permission, flying to Russia and leaving Ukraine with no planes'.