The United States has denied Russia’s claims that an American destroyer was chased off from attempting to enter Russian waters in the Sea of Japan.
Russia’s defense ministry on Friday said that USS Chafee “approached the territorial waters of the Russian Federation and attempted to cross the state border,” but turned back after being confronted by a Russian warship.
The Chafee and the Russian destroyer, the Admiral Tributs, were within 65 yards of each other, both militaries said.
But US Pacific Fleet said: “The statement from the Russian Defense Ministry about the interaction between our two Navy ships is false.”
The Americans said the Russian ship came close to the Chafee while it was preparing for flight operations, and “the interaction was safe and professional.”
Russia and China are conducting joint naval exercises, and Russia’s defense ministry said that the US warship was in an area closed because of artillery fire.
The US Pacific Fleet said Russia did issue a “notice to airmen and mariners” later Friday but that was not in effect when the encounter occurred.
Russia said the encounter occurred near Peter the Great Gulf. It said that after being warned, the US ship raised flags indicating helicopter flight which meant the course could not be changed, but ultimately it left.
“The USS destroyer ‘Chafee,’ convinced of the determination of the Russian ship crew to prevent the violation of the state border, changed direction,” The Russian Defense Ministry said.
The US Pacific Fleet said it was in international waters. “The United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate where international law allows,” the U.S. military statement said.