WASHINGTON, April 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Defense said Monday that a Russian attack aircraft made 12 passes near the USS Donald Cook while in international waters in the Black Sea on Saturday.
Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren called the incident "provocative and unprofessional," and added that "these continued acts of provocation and unprofessionalism do nothing to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine, which we called on the Russians to do."
At the time of the incident on Saturday, two Russian aircraft were present, although only one repeatedly flew near the American destroyer. The aircraft varied its altitude from near sea level to approximately 2,000 feet. The Russian aircraft never overflew the USS Donald Cook and the American destroyed was never in danger, said Warren.
"The aircraft did not respond to multiple queries and warnings from Donald Cook, and the event ended without incident after approximately 90 minutes ... This provocative and unprofessional Russian action is inconsistent with international protocols and previous agreements on the professional interaction between our militaries.”
“The Donald Cook is more than capable of defending itself against two Su-24s," the Pentagon spokesman stated.
The USS Donald Cook, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, arrived in the Black Sea on April 10. On Monday, the destroyer was making a port of call in Constanta, Romania.