A Russian destroyer nearly collided with an American guided-missile cruiser in the Philippine Sea, the U.S. Navy said on Friday, calling the incident "unsafe and unprofessional." The Russian Pacific Fleet, meanwhile, blamed the U.S. for the close encounter.
The U.S. Navy released an aerial photo and dramatic video of the incident.
U.S. Seventh Fleet spokesman Commander Clayton Doss said a Russian destroyer came within 50 to 100 feet of the USS Chancellorsville, "putting the safety of her crew and ship at risk." Doss said the U.S. ship was "on a steady course and speed when the Russian ship DD572 maneuvered from behind and to the right of" the American warship, forcing it to reverse all engines at full throttle to avoid a collision.
At the Pentagon on Friday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan called the Russian vessel's actions "unsafe" but said "it will not deter us from conducting our operations." He said the U.S. will file a formal diplomatic complaint about the incident.
However, Russia blamed the U.S. for the close encounter and sent a radio message in protest, the Russian state news agency TASS reported.
"The U.S. cruiser Chancellorsville suddenly changed its course and crossed the Admiral Vinogradov destroyer's course some 50 meters away from the ship. In order to prevent a collision, the Admiral Vinogradov's crew was forced to conduct an emergency maneuver," the Russian Pacific Fleet statement said.
The incident comes amid increased military finger pointing between Washington and Moscow. On Tuesday, a U.S. aircraft flying over the Mediterranean Sea wasduring a 175-minute period, according to the 6th Fleet. On consecutive days last month, and fighter jets off the Alaskan coast.