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US Navy insists its destroyer was on a ‘routine’ mission after Russia summons military attache over Sea of Japan warship incident

US Navy insists its destroyer was on a ‘routine’ mission after Russia summons military attache over Sea of Japan warship incident
Responding to Moscow’s protests over the approach of the warship USS Chafee to Russian territorial waters, the US Pacific Fleet has labelled Moscow's account as false and insisted its guided missile destroyer did nothing wrong.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday that it had summoned the American military attache in Moscow to protest an incident earlier in the day in which a Russian vessel had to warn off a US Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in Peter the Great Bay near Vladivostok. 

Also on rt.com Moscow summons US military attache after Russian Navy ‘intercepts’ American warship close to country’s borders in Sea of Japan

“The statement from the Russian Defense Ministry about the interaction between our two Navy ships is false,” the US Pacific Fleet said in a statement later in the day. The Chafee was “conducting routine operations in international waters in the Sea of Japan” when a Russian destroyer “came within approximately 65 yards” (60 meters) of the US ship while it was preparing for flight operations. 

The Pacific Fleet insisted that “the interaction was safe and professional,” and that the Russian notice to airmen and mariners (NOTAM/NOTMAR) issued for the area “was not in effect at the time of the interaction.”

“At all times, USS Chafee conducted operations in accordance with international law and custom. The United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate where international law allows.”

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According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Chafee received a warning it was approaching a restricted area, but instead of changing course, “raised its colored flags to indicate preparation for a helicopter to take off from the deck, which means it is impossible to change course and speed, and took action to violate the state border of the Russian Federation in the Peter the Great Bay.” 

The anti-submarine vessel Admiral Tributs then approached the US destroyer to compel it to change course.


Moscow called the actions of the US destroyer “unprofessional” and a “crude violation” of international rules for avoiding collisions, and a 1972 agreement with Washington on preventing incidents in the air and at sea.

A similar incident happened in the same area in November 2020, when the USS John S. McCain was driven off after straying more than two kilometers inside Russia’s internationally recognized maritime border.

The US Navy also denied wrongdoing, saying the destroyer was on a “freedom of navigation operation” to challenge “Russia's excessive maritime claims.”

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

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