US military challenges Russian comments on naval interaction

The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) steams during a transit show of force exercise while conducting a Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group in view of an upcoming deployment to the Pacific Ocean on March 31, 2017. Courtesy of Deanna C. Gonzales / US Navy / Handout via REUTERS

MOSCOW, Oct. 15 (Reuters) – Russia said one of its military ships chased a US Navy destroyer on Friday that attempted to breach Russian territorial waters during Russian-Chinese naval exercises in the Sea of ​​Japan , which Washington said was wrong.

The US military said the guided-missile destroyer Chafee was conducting routine operations in the international waters of the Sea of ​​Japan when a Russian destroyer approached within 65 meters (60 meters) of the US ship, although that all interactions were safe and professional.

“The Russian Defense Ministry’s statement about the interaction between our two navy ships is false,” the US military statement said.

“At all times, the USS Chafee conducted operations in accordance with international law and custom,” he added.

Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry said that the crew of a Russian anti-submarine ship, Admiral Tributs, radioed the Chafee that it was “in an area closed to navigation in due to exercises with artillery fire “.

The US destroyer failed to change course and raised flags indicating it was preparing to launch a helicopter from its deck, meaning it could not turn or change gears, the ministry said. Russian in a statement.

“Acting within the framework of international rules of navigation, the Admiral Tributes have set up a course to drive the intruder out of Russian territorial waters,” he said.

The Chafee eventually changed course when the two ships were within 60 meters of each other, he said. The incident lasted about 50 minutes and took place in Peter the Great Bay, west of the Sea of ​​Japan.

The RIA news agency said the Russian Defense Ministry summoned the US military attaché, who had been made aware of the “unprofessional actions” of the destroyer’s crew, which “seriously violated international laws on the prevention of ship collisions at sea “.

It was the second time in four months that Russia had declared it was driving a NATO warship from its waters. In June, Russia accused a British destroyer of violating its territorial waters off Crimea in the Black Sea, and said it had forced it to leave. Britain dismissed Moscow’s account of the incident, saying that at the time its ship was operating legally in Ukrainian waters.

Earlier on Friday, Russia said it had organized joint naval exercises with China in the Sea of ​​Japan and trained to operate together and destroy enemy floating mines with artillery fire.

Relations between Russia and the United States are at their lowest since the Cold War, although President Vladimir Putin said this week that he has established a solid relationship with his American counterpart Joe Biden and sees potential. improved relationships.

Report by Vladimir Soldatkin and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Idrees Ali in Washington. Written by Mark Trevelyan Editing by Catherine Evans, Peter Graff and Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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