‘US destroyer came dangerously close to Russian frigate’

MOSCOW: Russia’s Ministry of Defence on Tuesday accused an American destroyer of coming dangerously close to a Russian frigate in the Mediterranean Sea, calling the incident a gross violation of international agreements.

“On June 17, in the east of the Mediterranean Sea, the American destroyer USS Gravely came dangerously close to a Russian warship, 60 to 70 metres from the left side, and crossed the path of frigate Yaroslav Mudry at the dangerous distance of 180 metres from the bow,” the ministry said in a statement.

At the time of the incident, the Russian frigate was in international waters and was not conducting dangerous manoeuvres in respect to the American destroyer, the statement said. The ministry added that the crew abroad the USS Gravely had committed a gross violation of international rules on the prevention of collisions at sea and violated a maritime agreement signed in 1972 by US and then Soviet authorities.

The Pentagon has reported a number of recent cases of Russian jets buzzing US planes and ships in the Baltic Sea in recent months with tensions between the two side at their highest point since the Cold War over the Ukraine crisis.

In April, the US Navy released video footage of Russian aircraft flying very close to the USS Donald Cook, including in a simulated attack profile. On Wednesday, the Russian ministry used the alleged incident in the Mediterranean Sea to hit back at the US.

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