MOSCOW, the Russian Federation (BulgarianMilitary.com) – Yesterday, the Russian Defence Ministry commented the U.S. Navy operation “freedom of navigation” in the Sea of Japan, by stating that the Russian military follow closely the U.S. guided missile destroyer McCampbell, which was reported by the U.S. Navy yesterday (6th December) that had approached a Russian military base in the Primorye Region. According to a statement by the spokesman of the Russian Ministry of Defence, Igor Konashenkov, the U.S. destroyer did not even come to the Russian territorial waters closer than by 100 km. (62 miles), learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
Throughout the sailing, the U.S. warship was escorted and moved under the control of the large anti-submarine ship Admiral Tributs and several warplanes of Russia’s Pacific Fleet’s naval aviation that were in close proximity, the Russian Ministry of Defence says further. Igor Konashenkov noted that a package of control measures have been taken by the Russian Navy fleet in the Pacific Ocean to supervise the actions and movements of vessels sailing in this area, including those of other warships.
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“The only thing ‘demonstrated’ by the crew of the US destroyer was a failed attempt to get away at maximum speed from the Pacific Fleet forces that were escorting it,” says Igor Konashenkov.
At the moment, the U.S. McCampbell is 400km. away from the Russian territorial waters, in the central part of the Sea of Japan, where according to the Russian MoD spokesman, its crew “is demonstrating its courage.”
The official statement of the Russian Ministry of Defence follows this, made by the spokesperson of the U.S. Navy Lt. Rachel McMarr, on 5th December, who said then that the U.S. Navy destroyer McCampbell will enter the Sea of Japan Peter the Great Bay 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.”
On Wednesday (5th December), the U.S. Navy sent its McCampbell destroyer to sail near the contested Russian-claimed waters in the Sea of Japan, calling the operation “freedom of navigation”. This Naval activity followed less than two weeks after Russia seized three Ukrainian vessels off the coast of Crimea in the Black Sea and the announcement by the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, made on Tuesday (4t December) that the U.S. will leave the INF Treaty if Russia does not comply with it within 60 days.
Since Soviet times, Russia has claimed that entire Peter the Great Bay, which includes and the Russia’s Pacific Fleet home base in Vladivostok, is historically Russian territory. On the other hand, the U.S. argues that, in accordance with the international law, the Russian territorial waters extend only 12 nautical miles from shore.
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Sources: TASS, Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation