SAUDI ARABIA – A Russian warship has “aggressively approached” a US Navy destroyer while it was operating in the North Arabian Sea on Thursday.
The Russian warship ignored warnings from the US vessel, increasing the risk of a collision, the US Navy said Friday, according to CNN.
A video shared by CNN shows the Russian warship rapidly approaching the USS Farragut, coming as close as 180 feet to the US ship before changing direction.
American officials have described the incident as unsafe and provocative.
The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which oversees naval operations in the Middle East, said in a statement, “On Thursday, Jan. 9, while conducting routine operations in the North Arabian Sea, USS Farragut was aggressively approached by a Russian Navy ship.
“Farragut sounded five short blasts, the international maritime signal for danger of a collision, and requested the Russian ship alter course in accordance with international rules of the road.
“The Russian ship initially refused but ultimately altered course,” the statement said.
It added that “While the Russian ship took action, the initial delay in complying with international rules while it was making an aggressive approach increased the risk of collision.”
The Russian vessel ultimately turned away after bridge-to-bridge radio communication was established with the US destroyer.
The Russian Defense Ministry responded Friday by accusing the USS Farragut of conducting dangerous maneuvers.
The Defense Ministry said in a statement that the US Navy’s claim “doesn’t correspond with reality,” and accused the crew of the USS Farragut of acting “unprofessionally.”
“It was the US Navy destroyer, being on the left of the Russian warship that was moving forward, grossly violated international rules for preventing collisions of ships at sea on January 9, 2020, having made a maneuver to cross [the Russian ship’s] course,” the statement said.
“The crew of the Russian warship acted professionally, taking a maneuver that prevented a collision with the intruder vessel,” the Russian Defense Ministry added.