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Russia Claims It Chased U.S. Destroyer Out Of Its Territorial Waters

Moscow is seeking to downplay yesterday’s incident in the Sea of Japan, which saw an American destroyer sail through waters claimed by Russia for the first time since the Soviet era in 1987, and has released new details of the incident. Russia has further framed the incident as one in which the American ship was essentially chased out of the area.

USS McCampbell, Getty images

The U.S. Pacific Fleet confirmed that the guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell sailed “in the vicinity of” Peter the Great Bay on Wednesday  a body of water off the Russian port city of Vladivostok in order to “challenge Russia’s excessive maritime claims and uphold the rights, freedoms and lawful uses of the sea enjoyed by the United States and other nations,” according to a Navy official statement. The United States does not recognize Russia’s claim to the waters in question.

In a statement reported by Bloomberg the Russian Defense Ministry (MoD) said its own warship and aircraft had escorted the American destroyer as it sailed near the contested waters. The MoD emphasized the USS McCampbell didn’t enter to within 100 kilometers (60 miles) to Russian territorial waters.

But most interesting is that Russia is framing the US destroyer’s reaction as one of attempting “to escape at full speed” from the Russian escort vessels:

“If the American destroyer’s crew demonstrated anything, it was its unsuccessful attempt to escape at full speed from Pacific Fleet forces escorting it,” the statement said.

The incident occurred in the general vicinity of where the Russian Pacific Fleet is based. Peter the Great Bay, the largest in the Sea of Japan, and its port city of Vladivostok has been home to Russia’s major Far East region/Pacific naval base since the 18th century, when it was a key forward outpost of the Imperial Russian Navy.

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