Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee performs maneuvers off the coast of Hawaii. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Barker
Oct. 15 (UPI) -- The Russian Defense Ministry said it chased off a U.S. Navy destroyer about to violate the country's border near the Sea of Japan during joint Moscow-Beijing military drills.
Russia's Admiral Tributs, the country's largest Pacific Fleet anti-submarine ship, prevented the USS Chafee from entering Russian-controlled waters on Friday, the state-run Tass news agency reported.
The USS Chafee, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, had been operating in the Sea of Japan for several days and attempted to cross into Russian waters, the news agency said, citing a statement from the Ministry of Defense.
Admiral Tributs warned the USS Chafee that it was operating in an area closed for shipping because of artillery firings from the Russia-China Joint Sea 2021 exercises, according to Tass. Despite the warning, the USS Chafee "raised its colors," signaling that a helicopter would take off from its deck. That meant the ship's course and speed would not change and it would violate the Russian border, according to the account.
In response, the Admiral Tributs set its course toward the USS Chafee "chasing the intruder out of Russian territorial waters," according to Tass, citing the ministry statement.
"After becoming convinced of the Russian warship's resolve to prevent the violation of the state border, the guided-missile destroyer Chafee reversed its course at 5:50 p.m. when less than 60 meters were left in its distance from the large anti-submarine warfare ship Admiral Tributs," the ministry statement said.
The RT news agency, which is funded by the Russian government, posted a video of the incident from the defense ministry on its website.
Russian military officials described the incident as "a gross violation" of international regulations intended to prevent maritime collisions, according to Tass.
U.S. military officials have not issued a response. But Lucas Tomlinson, the Pentagon correspondent for Fox News, said on Twitter that military officials called the USS Chaffe's actions "safe and professional" and the claims from Russia "disinformation."
In June, Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed the United States and Britain for what he called an intentional provocation in the Black Sea. During the incident, Britain's HMS Defender entered waters near Crimea, which Moscow controversially annexed in 2014. Russia said its fighter jets fired warning shots and cautionary explosives were deployed near the warship, an account Britain disputes.