Moscow – A Russian warship on Tuesday chased a U.S. Navy destroyer off the waters of the Sea of Japan known in South Korea as the East Sea, the Russian military said – the latest in a series of close ties between Russian and American forces around the world. .
U.S. military officials responded that the destroyer, the USS John S. McCain, had conducted an “freedom of navigation” operation in Peter the Great’s Bay – the largest bay in the sea. The United States and Russia have long disagreed with Moscow’s demand in the area.
Russian officials said in a statement the American destroyer sailed 2 km (about 1.2 miles) along the sea border around 6 a.m. (Monday at 10 p.m.) before being chased by a Russian ship – Admiral Vinogradov.
– Admiral Vinogradov […] warned the foreign ship through an international communication channel of the inadmissibility of such acts and the possibility of using a ramming maneuver, ”the statement said.
According to the Russian defense ministry, McCain then changed direction and left the area after Vinogradov turned to the American destroyer.
The 7th U.S. Fleet issued a statement stating that McCain was operating in accordance with international law and that Russia had illegally called the area “inland waters” in 1984.
The United States said the border claimed by Russia was “inconsistent with the rules of international law reflected in the Convention on the Law of the Sea to close the waters of the Gulf.”
International maritime borders are generally recognized at a certain distance at sea. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union demanded much of Peter the Great Bay, which Americans call the Gulf, beyond these traditional borders. The United States and its allies reject this claim.
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Fleet 7 said the purpose of McCain’s operation was to demonstrate that these waters were not areas of Russia.
A statement from the Russian Ministry of Defense added that Vinogradov would continue to monitor McCain’s movements.
In August, the U.S. said several U.S. troops were injured when U.S. and Russian vehicles collided in Syria. Both parties blamed the other for the case. Videos posted on Russian social media accounts showed Russian vehicles trying to drive American vehicles off the road.
In May, U.S. ships entered the Barents Sea – considered an international water but a traditional landing site for Russia’s northern fleet – the U.S. Navy’s first military operation since the Cold War to enforce freedom of navigation in the region.
Reuters contributed to this report.