Russia, US trade claims over 'unsafe' naval manoeuvres

MOSCOW • Russia and the US yesterday accused each other of dangerous manoeuvres, after their naval ships came close to collision in the East China Sea.

Yesterday morning, Russia's Pacific Fleet said the USS Chancellorsville guided-missile cruiser suddenly cut across the course of its Admiral Vinogradov anti-submarine ship, passing in front of it at a distance of just 50m.

The Russian ship had to carry out an emergency manoeuvre to avoid collision, the navy said, adding that it had sent a message of protest to the US cruiser's commanders.

Admiral Viktor Kravchenko, Russia's former navy chief of staff, accused the United States of "hooliganism" in comments to Interfax news agency.

In a later statement, the US Seventh Fleet attributed the incident to an "unsafe" manoeuvre by the Russian ship, which it said had accelerated from behind to sail within 15m to 30m of the Chancellorsville, "putting the safety of her crew and ship at risk".

"We consider Russia's actions during this interaction as unsafe and unprofessional," the US Navy said.

Russia and the US regularly accuse each other of carrying out dangerous naval or aerial manoeuvres.

In June 2016, Moscow and Washington traded accusations after their naval ships sailed closely past each other in the eastern Mediterranean.

A month later, the US accused Russia of "aggressive" and "erratic" moves by one of its warships in the same waters.

The two countries also regularly complain about each other's military planes flying too close to their airspace.

Last month, US fighters intercepted six Russian military aircraft in international airspace west of Alaska, and shadowed them until they exited the area.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2019, with the headline 'Russia, US trade claims over 'unsafe' naval manoeuvres'. Print Edition | Subscribe