The U.S. Department of Defense said the USS John S. McCain had violated Russian waters and that the Russian anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Vinogradov had issued a warning to the American ship, threatening to push it out of the area.
According to the Russian statement, the American ship changed direction after the warning.
The U.S. Navy has denied the Russian claim that the U.S. ship has left the area because of the threat.
“The statement of the Russian Federation is false. The USS John S. McCain has not been ‘excluded from the territory of any nation,” said Lieutenant Joseph Keiley, a spokesman for the Seventh Navy.
The United States does not recognize Russia’s claims against the waters, saying that Moscow is not entitled to sovereignty over the territory, which is far in excess of 12 miles from the Russian mile guaranteed by international law.
“The operation reflects our commitment to upholding the principle of freedom of navigation and the lawful use of the sea, and the United States will never be intimidated or forced to accept illegitimate maritime claims, such as those of the Russian Federation,” Keiley said. .
The USS John S. McCain “enforced shipping rights and freedoms near Peter the Great Bay in the Sea of Japan. This freedom of shipping operation maintained the rights, freedoms and lawful use recognized in international law by challenging Russia’s excessive maritime claims.” Keiley added.
Peter the Great Bay is the largest bay in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, and home to both the Russian city of Vladivostok and the Russian Navy’s Pacific fleet.
Operation 2018 was the first time the United States had exercised freedom of navigation in this area since 1987, before the break-up of the Soviet Union.