Apr 17, 2014

Provocative Russian military action against U.S. Navy ship

A Russian fighter jet on Saturday made repeated provocative close-range, low-altitude passes above the U.S. Navy destroyer Donald Cook while it was steaming in the Black Sea, heightening Cold War-style tensions.
The Russian SU-24 Fencer made a total of 12 passes above the destroyer that is equipped with the powerful Aegis missile defense system. The incident occurred in international waters about 48 hours after the Navy ship arrived in the Black Sea.
The aircraft did not respond to multiple queries from the Donald Cook’s bridge. The Navy destroyer did not respond and the incident ended after about 90 minutes. The fighter jet did not appear to be carrying missiles under its wings.
This provocative and unprecedented Russian action is inconsistent with international protocols and previous agreements on the professional interaction.
The Donald Cook was never in any danger and is more than capable of defending itself against an SU-24.
The provocative acts come about a month after Russia launched a ground invasion of Ukraine’s Crimea region and the Russian military amassed an estimated 40,000 troops along Ukraine’s eastern border. Russia maintains a large naval base in Crimea.
The Donald Cook was dispatched to the Black Sea last week in an effort to reassure NATO allies, which includes Romania, of U.S. support in the face of Russian aggression.
The ship has now pulled into port in Constanta, Romania, near the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, which is a permanent post for several thousand U.S. troops, including airmen and Marines.

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