A Russian warship has carried out a “highly unprofessional” and “high-risk” manoeuvre close to an American naval ship, a US Defence official has said.
It is the second time in a month that American and Russian warships have come within close proximity in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
In the latest incident on Thursday the Yaroslav Mudry, a Russian frigate, apparently got near to the USS San Jacinto.
“The closing distance by Yaroslav Mudry before the ship turned away from San Jacinto is considered a high-risk manoeuvre, highly unprofessional, and contrary to international maritime regulations,” said the US Defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The official said the guided missile cruiser had not been threatened, but added: “Conducting aggressive, erratic manoeuvres and moving unnecessarily close to another ship in open ocean is inconsistent with prudent seamanship.”
The USS San Jacinto was carrying out operations against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria with the USS Dwight D Eisenhower at the time.
Tensions were already high after another incident involving the Yaroslav Mudry on 17 June.
On that occasion, the Russian defence ministry said: “The USS Gravely came dangerously close to a Russian warship, 60 to 70 metres from the left side, and crossed the path of frigate Yaroslav Mudry at the dangerous distance of 180 metres from the bow.
“The US sailors, in particular, neglected Rule 13, which stipulates that an overtaking vessel must keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken.”
But a US official countered that, saying the Russian ship carried out “unsafe and unprofessional” operations.
American officials have repeatedly complained about Russian military planes and vessels getting too close to their jets and vessels.
In a further incident in April, the US military said Russian SU-24 bombers had simulated attack passes near the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea.
US Secretary of State John Kerry described the Russian pilots’ behaviour as provocative and dangerous, saying that “under the rules of engagement that could have been a shoot-down”.
(c) Sky News 2016