Thursday, 23 February, 2017

Russian jets harass the destroyer Porter

A Russian Su-24 military jet flies over the Baltic Sea A Russian Su-24 military jet flies over the Baltic Sea
Erik Tate | 16 February, 2017, 01:17

A U.S. guided missile destroyer was buzzed by four Russian military aircraft last week - with one coming as close 200 yards - in incidents the Navy has deemed, "unsafe and unprofessional", a U.S. European Command spokesman told USNI News on Tuesday.

In a separate incident, two other Russian Su-24s came within 300 yards of the ship.

While Moscow denied the claims, the encounters allegedly occurred on the last day of Sea Shield 2017 - NATO's maritime maneuvers in the Black Sea.

The incident took place February 10 and involved the USS Porter, a guided missile destroyer, fending off low flights by what the commander of the ship regarded as potentially risky flybys. "All flights by our planes have been performed above neutral waters of the Black Sea in line with global rules and security regulations".

All the Russian warplanes were flying without their responders, the officials said, making it harder to identify them and increasing the risk of an accident. Such incidents are considered as unsafe and unprofessional.

US destroyer USS Porter and the Romanian naval ship ROS Marcellariu transit through the Black Sea during an exercise
US destroyer USS Porter and the Romanian naval ship ROS Marcellariu transit through the Black Sea during an exercise

"If the USA destroyer, as the Pentagon official claims, conducted a "regular" patrol mission in the vicinity of Russian Federation, tens of thousands miles away from their own shores, it is odd to be surprised about the no less regular flights of our aircraft over the Black Sea", he said.

President Trump earlier this month said he respects Russian President Vladimir Putin and seemed to dismiss the former KGB officer's use of violence against political opponents. Overall 16 warships, one submarine, and ten aircraft took part in the drills.

Four armed Russian fighter planes and two unarmed fighter planes buzzed the USS Porter, a guided missile destroyer, on February 10, the official told NBC News. Finally, a different Su-24 buzzed the ship, he said.

This was the first such encounter between the US and Russian militaries in the European Command area in 2017, he said.

The ship departed the Black Sea Friday after wrapping up training.

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