Russia Claims US Destroyer Got Too Close to Its Navy Ship in the Mediterranean

June 28, 2016 Updated: June 28, 2016

Russia’s Defense Ministry said Tuesday that a U.S. guided missile destroyer came dangerously close to its warship Yaroslav Mudry in the Mediterranean Sea, describing it as a violation of international regulations.

The ministry said the USS Gravely, the destroyer “came within a dangerously close distance of” around 200 to 230 feet from the Russian warship, according to a statement. The ship then crossed the sailing route of the Yaroslav Mudry at a “dangerous distance” of about 590 feet from the ship’s bow, the Defense Ministry added.

“The Russian warship was sailing in international waters, maintaining constant course and speed, and was not making any dangerous maneuver towards the U.S. ship,” the ministry said.

The Russian Defense Ministry added that the USS Gravely’s crew violated international rules.

Ships that are operating in close proximity to each other have to “remain well clear to avoid risk of collision,” the ministry said. It said American officials have frequently accused Russian pilots and sailors for a “lack of professionalism.”

A few months ago, two Russian fighter jets flew within 30 feet of the USS Donald Cook, prompting a warning from Secretary of State John Kerry, who said the jets could have been shot down. A few days later, in mid-April, the U.S. European Command, which oversees military operations in Europe, said a Russian interceptor flew within 50 feet of an American aircraft in a move that was both “unsafe and unprofessional.”

“These actions have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries, and could result in a miscalculation or accident that could cause serious injury or death,” European Command said in a statement at the time.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, a Russian submarine was spotted heading to the English Channel before it was intercepted by the English Navy. Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said of the incident, “This shows that the Navy is maintaining a vigilant watch in international and territorial waters to keep Britain safe and protect us from potential threats,” according to the U.K. Press Association.