US-Russian “Close Encounters" on Sea, Air

  • Our Bureau
  • 11:12 AM, June 7, 2019
  • 3429
US-Russian “Close Encounters
USS Chancellorsville guided-missile cruiser and Russian destroyer Admiral Vinogadrov (image: Reuters)

A US warship made a ‘dangerous manoeuvre’ close to a Russian ship in South China Sea on Thursday, which was preceded by a similar incident when a Su-35 jet intercepted an American P-8A surveillance aircraft thrice over the Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday.

The second interception that happened June 4 is considered “unsafe.” The Russian Su-35 flew at high speed directly in front of the American aircraft, resulting in a wave of turbulence that put the pilots’ lives at risk, the US military’s press service explained.

The US Air Force stresses that it did not provoke the Russian fighter, and called Russia’s actions in international airspace “irresponsible.”

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the American aircraft had been approaching Russia’s naval base in Tartus, Syria.

Such encounters are not uncommon. In January last year, a Russian Su-27 flew within two meters of a US surveillance aircraft in international airspace over the Black Sea. And in November 2017, a Russian Su-30 fighter performed an “unsafe interception” of a US Navy P8-A Poseidon. Even in this case, the Russian jet flew directly in front of the American plane, causing powerful turbulence and forcing the other aircraft to deviate from its course by 15 degrees, according to the official US report.

Meanwhile, a guided-missile cruiser belonging to the US command, the Chancellorsville, reportedly hindered the passage of Russia’s Admiral Vinogradov anti-submarine destroyer positioned at a distance 50 meters in front of it, forcing the vessel to conduct an emergency manoeuvre that is dangerous, the Russian Pacific Fleet’s press service told TASS on Friday.

The incident occurred at 6.35 am Moscow Time in the southeastern part of the East China Sea, when a task force of the Russian Pacific Fleet and a US carrier strike group were heading in parallel directions.

The Pacific Fleet voiced a protest to the US vessel’s command, stressing that such steps are unacceptable.

The Admiral Vinogradov destroyer and the Chancellorsville cruiser have a full displacement of 7,500 tonnes and 9,800 tonnes, respectively.

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