Russia and the United States blamed each other for a near collision between their warships in the East China Sea on Friday with both countries accusing one another of dangerous and unprofessional behaviour.
Russia’s Pacific Fleet said that the USS Chancellorsville, a guided-missile cruiser, had come within just 50 metres (165 feet) of the Russian destroyer Admiral Vinogradov which had been forced to take emergency action to avoid a collision, Russian news agencies reported.
They cited a Russian Pacific Fleet statement as saying the incident took place in the early hours of Friday morning in the eastern part of the East China Sea at a time when a group of Russian warships was on a parallel course with a U.S. naval strike group.
A pictured captured of the incident showed the Russian and US vessels coming within touching distance
A video released by the US Navy also showed the two ships coming worryingly close together
‘The U.S guided-missile cruiser Chancellorsville suddenly changed course and cut across the path of the destroyer Admiral Vinogradov coming within 50 metres of the ship,’ the statement said.
‘A protest over the international radio frequency was made to the commanders of the American ship who were warned about the unacceptable nature of such actions,’ it said.
That version of events was rejected by the U.S. Navy, which said the behaviour of the Russian ship had been ‘unsafe and unprofessional’.
‘While operating in the Philippine Sea, a Russian Destroyer…made an unsafe manoeuvre against USS Chancellorsville,’ U.S. Seventh Fleet spokesman Commander Clayton Doss said.
‘This unsafe action forced Chancellorsville to execute all engines back full and to maneuver to avoid collision.’
The Russian ship is clearly identifiable in the video posted by the US Navy on Twitter
The US Navy’s USS Chancellorsville (CG-62) guided missile destroyer was one of the ships involved
He described a Russian assertion that the U.S. ship had acted dangerously as ‘propaganda’. The Russian destroyer came within 50 to 100 feet of the Chancellorsville, he said, putting the safety of her crew and the ship at risk.
The incident comes days after Washington and Moscow sparred over an allegedly unsafe spy plane intercept by a Russian fighter jet near Syria.
A US Navy statement read: ‘At approximately 11:45 am on June 7, 2019 while operating in the Philippine Sea, a Russian destroyer (Udaloy I DD 572) made an unsafe maneuver against USS Chancellorsville (CG-62), closing to ~50-100 feet putting the safety of her crew and ship at risk.
‘While Chancellorsville was recovering its helicopter on a steady course and speed when the Russian ship DD572 maneuvered from behind and to the right of Chancellorsvilleaccelerated and closed to an unsafe distance of ~50-100 feet.
‘This unsafe action forced Chancellorsville to execute all engines back full and to maneuver to avoid collision.
‘We consider Russia’s actions during this interaction as unsafe and unprofessional and not in accordance with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), ‘Rules of the Road,’ and internationally recognized maritime customs.’
Russian destroyer Admiral Vinogradov. Both nations accused each other over the near-miss