A Russian destroyer nearly collided with the American guided missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville in the Philippine Sea on Friday, forcing the Chancellorsville to take emergency action.

The U.S. Navy described the Russian ship’s behavior as “unsafe and unprofessional,” dismissing Russian claims to the contrary as mere propaganda.

The U.S. Navy 7th Fleet described the incident in a statement on Friday morning:

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.

The Russian Pacific Fleet attempted to blame the incident on the American warship, claiming the Chancellorsville, a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser,  “suddenly changed course and cut across the path of the destroyer Admiral Vinogradov coming within 50 meters of the ship.”

“A protest over the international radio frequency was made to the commanders of the American ship who were warned about the unacceptable nature of such actions,” the Russians said.

U.S. 7th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Clayton Doss dismissed the Russian statement as “propaganda.”

The U.S. Navy soon released video of the incident:

A Russian fighter jet performed a series of intercepts of an American aircraft flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean on Tuesday. One of those intercepts was deemed “unsafe” and “irresponsible” by the U.S. military because the Russian fighter flew at high speed directly in front of the American surveillance aircraft.

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