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US and Russia navies accuse each other of unsafe maneuvers in Indo-Pacific

Russia and the U.S. have accused each other of unsafe maneuvers in the Indo-Pacific, each saying vessels from the other’s navies put crews and ships at risk.

Russia on Friday, June 7 accused a U.S. naval ship of carrying out a dangerous maneuver by sailing within 50 meters of a Russian naval vessel in the East China Sea.

The USS Chancellorsville guided-missile cruiser suddenly turned early Friday while sailing alongside Russia’s Admiral Vinogradov anti-submarine ship, and cut across the course of the Russian vessel, Interfax news agency reported, citing the press service of Russia’s Pacific Fleet.

The ships passed at a distance of just 50 m (164 feet), the fleet said.

The Russian ship had to carry out an emergency maneuver to avoid collision, the navy said, adding that it had sent a message of protest to the U.S. cruiser’s commanders.

Admiral Viktor Kravchenko, Russia’s former navy chief of staff, accused the U.S. of “hooliganism” in comments to Interfax news agency.

The U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet hit back on Friday, saying: “At approximately 11:45 am on June 7, 2019 while operating in the Philippine Sea, a Russian destroyer (Udaloy I DD 572) made an unsafe maneuver against USS Chancellorsville (CG-62), closing to ~50-100 feet putting the safety of her crew and ship at risk.”

The Chancellorsville was recovering its helicopter when the Russian ship “maneuvered from behind and to the right of Chancellorsville accelerated and closed to an unsafe distance,” the Navy said.

“This unsafe action forced Chancellorsville to execute all engines back full and to maneuver to avoid collision.”

The Navy posted video of the near collision.

Russia and the U.S. regularly accuse each other of carrying out dangerous naval or aerial maneuvers.

In June 2016, Moscow and Washington traded accusations after their naval ships sailed closely past each other in the eastern Mediterranean.

A month later, the U.S. accused Russia of “aggressive” and “erratic” moves by one of its warships in the same waters.

The two countries also regularly complain over each other’s military planes flying too close to their airspace.

In May, U.S. fighters intercepted six Russian military aircraft in international airspace west of Alaska, and shadowed them until they exited the area.

With reporting from AFP

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