Natasha Romanoff, wishing to teach Yelena Belova a lesson, worked with Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. on Operation Validate, which entailed the two Widows exchanging physical appearance. While Yelena was struggling to maintain her identity, Natasha duped Yelena's superior, Yuri Stalyenko, into revealing his plot to steal nuclear weapons hidden in Hudson river during the Cold War.[1] Natasha also showed Yelena that Stalyenko thought of her as an expendable pawn, easily replaced.[2] The two Black Widows teamed up to bring him down, but a resentful Yelena then attacked Natasha, who explained how she wanted to teach Yelena that espionage was not a game. S.H.I.E.L.D. reversed the process and Yelena returned to the Red Room a little wiser, through certainly no fonder of Natasha.[3]

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