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EUCOM Claims Russian Ship 'Intentionally Displayed False Signal'

Sputnik News

09:37 30.06.2016(updated 13:04 30.06.2016)

Russia's Neustrashimy-class frigate Yaroslav Mudry was deliberately "displaying a false international signal" during a recent close encounter with the US guided missile destroyer Gravely in the Mediterranean, a spokesman for the US European Command (EUCOM) said.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – On Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that the US destroyer violated international and bilateral agreement on avoiding incidents at seas by approaching the Russian frigate dangerously close.

US military responded to Russia's stance that during the incident, Yaroslav Mudry had displayed the signal restricted in maneuvers, but changed its speed to approach to the US ship after Gravely had changed both speed and course.

"The maneuvering demonstrates that Neustrashimy was not in fact restricted in her ability to maneuver, and was thus intentionally displaying a false international signal… Gravely, operating together with [US aircraft carrier] Harry S. Truman, assessed that Neustrashimy was intentionally trying to interfere with Harry S. Truman operations," Capt. Danny Hernandez was quoted as saying by The Wall Street Journal Wednesday.

The US Department of Defense had already said that it was in contact with Moscow about the incident through appropriate discussion channels.

According to a US military official quoted by Defense News, the Gravely was escorting the Harry S. Truman carrier participating in the international operation against Daesh while the Yaroslav Mudry was moving nearby.

"Gravely was operating astern of Harry S. Truman, and assessed that 777 [the Russian ship] was intentionally trying to interfere with Harry S. Truman operations… 777 had raised day shapes "ball-diamond-ball," which is the international signal a ship displays when restricted in her ability to maneuver, when she took position two nautical miles off Gravely's starboard quarter. Then, 777 repeatedly asked Gravely over VHF radio to maintain a safe distance, while 777 continued to maneuver to get closer to Gravely."

In April, the USS Donald Cook Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer made headlines after two Russian Su-24 Fencer tactical bombers flew close to the ship near a Russian base in the Baltic Sea. US military officials slammed the fly-by as reckless and unprofessional, while Russia maintained it was defending its national borders.

The United States expressed concern over the flyover incident through Washington's defense attache in Moscow.

The US European Command said the jets flew in a manner that resembled an attack and ignored safety advisories. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the bombers swerved away from the US warship once it was identified.


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