The Russian Defence Ministry said at 6.17am local time, the USS John S. McCain, which entered the Sea of Japan several days ago, violated the country’s territorial waters, “passing the maritime border by two kilometres”. A statement from the ministry said crew aboard the Admiral Vinogradov vessel warned the US ship it would use a “ramming manoeuvre” if it did not quickly leave Russia’s territorial waters. But after the Admiral Vinogradov changed its course, the USS John S. McCain destroyer followed suit and returned to international waters.
The Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement: “The Pacific Fleet’s Admiral Vinogradov anti-submarine destroyer used an international communication channel to warn the foreign vessel that such actions were unacceptable and the violator could be driven out of the country’s territorial waters in a ramming manoeuvre.
“After the warming was issued and the Admiral Vinogradov changed its course, the USS John S. McCain destroyer returned to international waters.”
But this was the second alarming clash between Russian and US naval vessels in the space of 24 hours after Moscow warned it was keeping a close eye on another ship.
Russia’s National Defence Control Centre said its Black Sea Fleet was monitoring the USS Donald Cook destroyer, which entered the huge stretch of water on Monday.
The Ministry of Defence said: “The Black Sea Fleet’s forces and means began monitoring the USS Donald Cook, who entered the Black Sea on November 23.”
The US Navy 6th Fleet had previously said the USS Donald Cook destroyer was making its way to the Black Sea.
On Monday, the US Navy 6th Fleet tweeted: “#USSDonaldCook DDG 75 began their straits transit into the #BlackSea, marking the 7th time a @USNavy warship has been in the Black Sea Region.
“#USNavy ships regularly patrol in these waters in support of our @NATO Allies & partners.”
The US Navy 6th Fleet said while the USS Donald Cook was in the Black Sea, the destroyer will conduct “routine maritime security operations that support regional stability”.
The force added the ship’s operations in the Black Sea strengthens interoperability among NATO allies and partners and “demonstrate collective resolve to Black Sea security under Operation Atlantic Resolve”.
Cmdr. Kelley Jones, commanding officer of Donald Cook, said: “Operating in the Black Sea signifies our commitment to partners and allies in the region.
“It is an important diplomatic mission, and Donald Cook has enjoyed the hospitality of Black Sea countries many times before.”
The US Navy 6th Fleet described the Black Sea as a “critical waterway for maritime commerce and stability throughout Europe”, with the force “routinely” operating in the stretch of water to work with NATO allies and partners, including Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Turkey, and Ukraine.
The Fleet said: “It is in the world’s best interest to maintain a stable, prosperous Black Sea region and deter aggressive actors who seek destabilization for their own gain.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly warned the presence of ships entering the Black Sea from outside of the region does not contribute to a strengthening of regional stability.
But the US has responded by insisting it continues to act within the Montreaux Convention, which regulates military use of the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits.
The US Navy 6th Fleet said four Destroyers, including Donald Cook, are based in Rota, Spain to support “NATO’s Integrated Air Missile Defence architecture”.
The force added that naval forces and ships have the flexibility to operate throughout waters in Europe and Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Arctic Circle.