On Friday morning, an American guided-missile cruiser came dangerously close to colliding with a Russian destroyer in the East China Sea.

U.S. Seventh Fleet spokesman Commander Clayton Doss stated, “’While operating in the Philippine Sea, a Russian Destroyer…made an unsafe maneuver against USS Chancellorsville. This unsafe action forced Chancellorsville to execute all engines back full and to maneuver to avoid collision. He added, “The Russian destroyer came within 50 to 100 feet of the Chancellorsville.”

The U.S. Navy released a statement 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. While Chancellorsville was recovering its helicopter on a steady course and speed when the Russian ship DD572 maneuvered from behind and to the right of Chancellorsville accelerated and closed to an unsafe distance of ~50-100 feet. This unsafe action forced Chancellorsville to execute all engines back full and to maneuver to avoid collision. We consider Russia’s actions during this interaction as unsafe and unprofessional and not in accordance with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), “Rules of the Road,” and internationally recognized maritime customs.’

Adm. John Richardson, the Chief of Naval Operations, echoed, “The behavior by the captain of the Russian destroyer in the Philippine Sea was irresponsible and reckless. This unwise maneuver, combined with the unsafe maneuvers by the Russian aircraft in the eastern Mediterranean earlier this week, make it clear that these dangerous actions by Russian military forces across the globe do not match what the world expects from a responsible and trustworthy world power.”

The Russian military claimed the Chancellorsville “suddenly changed direction and crossed the path of Admiral Vinogradov just 50 meters away,”

Russia has been making its presence felt in the East China Sea for years; in 2016 The New York Times reported:

Russian naval forces plan to join Chinese forces for a joint exercise in the South China Sea, highlighting Moscow’s partnership with Beijing after a recent international legal ruling underlined rifts between China and Southeast Asian nations over rival claims across the sea. The joint exercise will be held in September, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, Senior Col. Yang Yujun, said in Beijing on Thursday. But he gave no details about the size of the drill or precisely where it would take place in the vast stretch of sea from southern China nearly to the Philippines.

The east China Sea has been the focus of tension between China and Japan, which could ultimately involve the U.S. as Japan is an American ally. CNBC reported in December 2017: “Former President Barack Obama was the first U.S. leader to state that the disputed East China Sea islands were covered by the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty.”

Video of the two ships coming close below:

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