Obama offers reason for not discussing Russian jet incident during call with Putin

A Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft makes a very-low altitude pass by the USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) April 12, 2016, in the Baltic Sea near Poland. Donald Cook, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, forward deployed to Rota, Spain is conducting a routine patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. U.S. NAVY 6TH FLEET PHOTO/RELEASED

While President Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin had a lot of topics to talk about on Monday, the subject of Russian aircraft harassing US ships was not one of them.

“That did not come up in the call between the two presidents,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest, who said the duo had an “intense” discussion that was more focused on Syria than anything else.

According to the Washington Times, Earnest said that incidents between the US and Russian forces -such as the low-and-fast buzzing of the USS Donald Cook- have been commonplace for decades now and do not raise any serious alarm.

“Those kinds of activities are destabilizing and a source of some concern, but they’re not particularly unusual,” he said. “And there is an already well-established channel for expressing our concerns about those kinds of incidents from the U.S. military attaché in Moscow to his Russian military counterpart. Those concerns were raised at that level and were not escalated beyond that.”

Despite this, aggressive flying by Russian aircraft in or around the vicinity of US assets continues to be a source of concern for the general public. Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier this month that the Donald Cook would have been justified in shooting down the Russian planes, due to the wanton flying of their pilots. Russian officials argue that the pilots were following safe procedure during the incident.

In addition to low passes over US naval vessels, the Russians also intercepted an RC-135 reconnaissance plane, missing it by mere feet as it performed a barrel roll.

“There have been repeated incidents over the last year where Russian military aircraft have come close enough to other air and sea traffic to raise serious safety concerns, and we are very concerned with any such behavior,” the Pentagon stated in a release. “The unsafe and unprofessional actions of a single pilot have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries.”

The phone conversation between Obama and Putin revolves around a new attempt at peace talks concerning the Syrian government forces of Bashar Assad and opposition forces who currently rebel against the regime.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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