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24 Nov, 2020 21:38

'John McCain' warship drama: US Navy defends vessel entering Russian waters by blasting Moscow’s ‘EXCESSIVE maritime claims'

'John McCain' warship drama: US Navy defends vessel entering Russian waters by blasting Moscow’s ‘EXCESSIVE maritime claims'

The US Navy has called Russia’s claims of maritime territory “excessive” and described an alleged incursion by one of its ships, the USS 'John S. McCain', into Russian waters as a routine “Freedom of Navigation Operation.”

Russia's Ministry of Defense stated on Tuesday that the American vessel sailed more than two kilometers into its zone of control, off the coast of the Russian Far Eastern capital, Vladivostok, that morning. According to Moscow, the USS 'McCain' was warned away by the Udaloy-class destroyer 'Admiral Vinogradov', whose crew warned the US warship away, threatening to ram it by force if necessary.

Also on rt.com Are you invading, or just lost? Russian navy threatens to ram US warship ‘John McCain’ after it crosses border near Vladivostok

“The Russian Federation's statement about this mission is false,” the US Navy later declared, adding that the ship’s mission took place in international waters and “in accordance with international law.”

In a tweet, the Navy said that the mission “upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea,” and challenged “Russia's excessive maritime claims.”

The US insists that Peter the Great Bay, where the USS 'McCain' was sailing, was improperly claimed by the USSR in 1984. Ever since, Moscow has stuck by the Soviet demarcation of the waters, which was determined by drawing a straight line between its adjacent coasts.

Tuesday’s encounter was not the first time that the USS 'John McCain' has been involved in high-risk incidents at sea. In 2017, 10 American sailors died after the vessel collided with a Liberian-flagged tanker, resulting in flooding and putting the warship out of action until October 2019. An investigation into that incident warned of an overly complex touchscreen system used to control the ship’s throttle, and a lack of training of its crew.

Nor is it the first time that the US has taken flak for holding such Freedom of Navigation Operations in disputed waters. American vessels regularly sail through the South China Sea to challenge Beijing’s expanding claims in the resource-rich waterway, and the Chinese military accused Washington of “provocative actions” when the USS 'McCain' sailed past the Chinese-claimed Paracel Islands there last month.

Also on rt.com ‘We’re not leaving’: Trump security advisor says Washington committed to deterring Beijing amid S. China Sea dispute

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