Pentagon Condemns Russian Conduct after Warship’s Near-Collision with U.S. Cruiser

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The U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville in the Philippine Sea, March 9, 2019. (Mass Communication Specialist Second Class John Harris/US Navy)

The Department of Defense on Friday condemned the near collision of a Russian destroyer and an American guided-missile cruiser and said the U.S. will file a formal demarcate against the Russians for their part in the incident.

“The behavior’s unsafe and unprofessional,” Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told reporters on Friday. “We’ll have military-to-military conversations with the Russians, and of course we’ll démarche them.”

On Friday morning, the Russian destroyer Udaloy came within 50 to 100 feet of the USS Chancellorsville in the Philippine Sea’s international waters, executing “an unsafe maneuver” that put “the safety of her crew and ship at risk,” according to Commander Clayton Doss, a Navy spokesman. “This unsafe action forced Chancellorsville to execute all engines back full and to maneuver to avoid collision,” Doss said. The Navy also alleged that the Russian ship had violated the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.

Like Doss and Shanahan, top Navy admiral John Richardson blamed Russia for the incident, saying in a statement that:

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This unwise maneuver, combined with the unsafe maneuvers by the Russian aircraft in the eastern Mediterranean earlier this week, make it clear that these dangerous actions by Russian military forces across the globe do not match what the world expects from a responsible and trustworthy world power.

“The U.S. Navy will not be deterred from supporting the free and open use of the seas and skies where international law clearly allows all to operate,” Richardson added.

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