The U.S. Navy has denied Russian defense ministry’s claims that one of its destroyers was shooed away after it tried to get close to the region where Russia-China Joint Sea 2021 exercises were taking place.
Moscow alleged that the American Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Chafee “attempted violation of the state border of the Russian Federation in the area of the Peter the Great Bay” on October 15. The destroyer was reportedly operating in an area closed for shipping due to artillery firings as part of the Russia-China Joint Sea 2021 naval maneuvers. Russian Pacific Fleet’s large anti-submarine warfare ship Admiral Tributs then “warned the foreign warship of the inadmissibility of such actions”, a Russian statement said.
Instead of changing its course to leave the closed area, the destroyer Chafee hinted that its helicopter was due to take off from its deck and that the course and the speed could not be changed, it stated further.
"After becoming convinced of the Russian warship’s resolve to prevent the violation of the state border, the guided missile destroyer Chafee reversed its course at 5:50 p.m. when less than 60 meters were left in its distance from the large anti-submarine warfare ship Admiral Tributs," the ministry said.
Calling Russian claims as “false,” the U.S. Navy said USS Chafee (DDG 90) was conducting routine operations in international water in the Sea of Japan. “A Russian Udaloy-class destroyer came within approximately 65 yards of USS Chafee (DDG 90) while the ship was preparing for flight operations. The interaction was safe and professional.”
“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,” the U.S. Pacific Fleet said in a statement.
Although Russia issued a Notice to Airman and Mariners (NOTAM/NOTMAR) in this area for later in the day, the NOTAM/NOTMAR was not in effect at the time of the interaction, the Navy added.
Russia has summoned the U.S. military attache to the MoD’s Main Directorate for International Military Cooperation in the evening of October 15.